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Surrey Police warning after people found sunbathing at beauty spots

3 minute read
Surrey Police warning after people found sunbathing at beauty spots

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 7:34am 6th April 2020. (Updated at 7:41am 6th April 2020)

After a weekend of sunshine more warnings have been issued over sunbathing in public and leaving your local area to exercise.

Surrey Police say they will use new powers granted to them under the Coronavirus Act if people continue to go against the government advice to stay at home.

The force says while most people in the county adhered to the government advice to stay at home this weekend, officers still had to break up gathering in beauty spots and outdoor areas.

Officers had to move groups on from Box Hill in Dorking, where more than 40 cars were parked and scores of people were sunbathing or exercising, with cars continuing to arrive throughout the afternoon.

A passing National Police Air Service helicopter on another call prompted some to go, but police on the ground still had to persuade a significant number to leave.

Officers were also alerted to a similar situation at Epsom Downs. 

In Virginia Water they had to issue parking tickets on the A30 London Road due to complaints about illegal parking on the clearway. 

Several people were spoken to who had driven to the area from as far away as Brentford and Weybridge to exercise.

Other cases of people not adhering to the government advice included two men with remote control cars in a park who had driven to the location and were not exercising; four teenagers (from two households) who had gone to the park together; one person sunbathing in a public park, because the garden outside his nearby block of flats was too busy; and eight people having a mini street party in a neighbour's front garden.

Superintendent Chris Colley said they understand when the weather is warm "in normal situations" people want to go out - but "these are not normal times": 

"This is a national health emergency and everyone is urged to do their very best to slow the spread of this devastating virus. 

"Every little thing we can do now will help reduce demand for the NHS and save lives.

"We need people to take responsibility and consider their actions before potentially putting other lives at risk. 

"If we need to use the powers we have been granted under the Coronavirus Act we will do so.

"However, the majority of Surrey residents are adhering to the government's guidelines to stay at home to save lives - a huge thank you to you all."