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Coronavirus Kent: More rule-breakers flout lockdown rules by coming to the county


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Lockdown louts from London have been fined after once again invading the county during the weekend's warm weather - including one couple who were discovered cooking sausages on the beach.

The duo, from the capital, were found on Sunday enjoying the bangers on Folkestone's beach by enforcement officers from the council who were patrolling the area over the four day Easter break.

Kite surfers at Greatstone beach were told to go home on Monday. Picture: FHDC
Kite surfers at Greatstone beach were told to go home on Monday. Picture: FHDC

The patrols are designed to catch rule-breakers during the coronavirus crisis and give advice to people who are still out and about.

Another family, from Bexleyheath, who were spoken to had travelled down to the seafront on Saturday and were found eating a take away in Folkestone's Lower Leas Coastal Park.

Also over the weekend, police and HM Coastguard had to advise several groups of paddle boarders and canoeists at Hythe and Sandgate to come out of the sea, while on Monday eight kite surfers from London were found at Greatstone, on Romney Marsh.

In total, 81 warning letters were issued by Folkestone and Hythe District Council to people breaking social distancing guidelines.

This compares to more than 100 letters being issued the previous weekend (April 4-5) by the authority.

A family were spotted on Joss Bay in Broadstairs over the four day weekend. Picture: Kent Police Thanet
A family were spotted on Joss Bay in Broadstairs over the four day weekend. Picture: Kent Police Thanet

Police also identified a group of friends on Hythe's beach who had travelled from the city to spend the day together, and reported several other incidents where people were found to be travelling in vehicles with people not from the same household.

As a result, fines were issued by officers.

In Thanet, police spotted a group sitting on the sand at Joss Bay in Broadstairs before telling them to go home to London.

The officers even escorted the family to the London-bound A28 to make sure they left the county.

Assistant chief constable Claire Nix said: "It was pleasing to see the majority of people in Kent adhered to the government’s advice about staying home over the Easter weekend.

Police on patrol in Romney Marsh over the Easter weekend. Image: Kent Police Folkestone and Hythe
Police on patrol in Romney Marsh over the Easter weekend. Image: Kent Police Folkestone and Hythe

"Despite the warm weather and the four day weekend, many resisted the urge to venture out unless it was absolutely essential.

"Kent Police officers continued to patrol the county and where necessary reminded people of their responsibilities to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

"However, there were some who ignored this advice and officers issued fines as a result.

"This included three people who travelled from London to the beach in Hythe to spend the day together on April 11 and several incidents where people were found to be travelling in vehicles with people not from the same household.

"The Easter weekend, and for the time being, the warm weather, may now be over but the government guidance for public safety during this pandemic remains and we urge everyone to follow the advice given.

"Kent Police will continue to engage with the public, explain to people their personal responsibilities during this unprecedented time and encourage them to follow the national public health advice. Enforcement, such as fines, is only used as a last resort."

It is not known how many fines to date have been issued by Kent Police.

But some officers took to Twitter to thank people for staying home, posting pictures of empty beaches and deserted walkways.

Tweeting from the Kent Police Folkestone and Hythe account, one officer said: "Empty beach. Thank you to the majority near and far who respected #StayHomeSaveLives.

"You kept valuable resources on the front line across numerous agencies, not away from it."

Another tweet said: "Thank you - so proud to police Folkestone and Hythe district. To everyone of you who stayed home, you saved lives today."

Officers patrolling Folkestone found this natural art. Image: Kent Police Folkestone and Hythe
Officers patrolling Folkestone found this natural art. Image: Kent Police Folkestone and Hythe

Folkestone and Hythe District Council also thanked its residents for adhering to social distancing guidelines.

A spokeswoman for the authority said: "Thank you to the vast majority of people who followed government guidance to stay at home this Easter weekend and to all those who observed social distancing advice when they were out taking exercise.

"Although most stayed at home there continued to be some who ignored the message to avoid unnecessary travel and drove to the district for a day out resulting in more than 80 warning letters being issued to drivers over the four days.

"The government advice is clear - stay local if you are taking exercise and use open spaces near your home."

And the council also made a special shout out to those who supported its teams over the weekend.

The spokeswoman added: "Thank you to the Sandgate residents who gave a little round of applause to members of the council team and the community support officers from Kent Police on Saturday.

"It was very much appreciated and brought a smile to their faces!"

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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