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Two women who were each fined £200 after travelling to a reservoir about five miles from their homes for a walk have had their fines rescinded, Derbyshire police said.
Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore were handed fixed penalty notices (FPNs) at Foremark reservoir last Wednesday. Derbyshire police said the women could have stayed closer to home and their actions were “clearly not in the spirit of the national effort” to reduce travel and the spread of coronavirus.
Police also told the two friends their hot drinks were in breach of the law as they were “classed as a picnic”.
On Monday, the force’s chief constable, Rachel Swann, said: “Two fixed penalty notices that were handed to two women who had travelled to Foremark reservoir on Thursday have been withdrawn and we have notified the women directly, apologising for any concern caused.
“I support the fact that the officers were trying to encourage people to stay local to prevent the spread of the virus. This is a responsibility for all of us.”
Swann said all FPNs issued in conjunction with Covid guidance were subject to review, and following clarification from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Allen and Moore’s fines were part of small number “reviewed in line with that latest advice”.
“We have been working hard to understand the ever-changing guidance and legislation and to communicate this to our officers in a way that makes it clear what is the right course of action to take,” she added.
Following the announcement, Allen said: “Our fines have been rescinded and we have received an apology on behalf of the constabulary for the treatment we received.
“We welcomed this apology and we are pleased to draw a line under this event.”
At the time Allen, who lives in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, said her car was “surrounded” by police when she arrived at the reservoir.
She said the pair arrived in separate cars, parked two spaces away from each other, and brought their own drinks.
During a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, clarified that people could exercise with one other person outdoors as long as they stayed 2 metres apart, but stressed that people should stay local.
He warned meeting a friend outside could be banned if people did not follow the current rules.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Derbyshire police withdraw two women’s £200 fines for lockdown walk | Coronavirus