Beachgoers fined for refusing to pack up chairs and blankets

The public will now be able to drive to Tendring Council car parks to visit Clacton seafront Picture

The public will now be able to drive to Tendring Council car parks to visit Clacton seafront Picture: NIGEL BROWN - Credit: Archant

Two beachgoers who refused to cooperate with police officers over coronavirus lockdown rules were among those fined in the last week.

Officers from Essex Police have continued to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to those flouting lockdown rules – which continue to be in operation despite step one of the roadmap beginning this coming Monday.

An officer from Essex Police on coronavirus foot patrol in Colchester

An officer from Essex Police on coronavirus foot patrol in Colchester - Credit: Essex Police

Under current rules, people can only meet with one other person from another household for outdoor exercise. From March 8, "recreation" will be allowed outdoors again with one other person.

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Among the numerous people fined included two people on Clacton beach last weekend, beginning with a 43-year-old woman on Saturday, who refused to pack up her blanket and chairs.

On Sunday, a 32-year-old man was issued with an FPN after refusing to leave after officers found him setting up a barbecue with a woman. He was then spotted eating fish and chips with three other people.

His companions left when approached by police, although turned "verbally abusive" when arguing he did not agree with lockdown rules.

Elsewhere, two people were fined for trying to leave the country via Stansted Airport to see families abroad.

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The first, a 31-year-old man, was arrested on Friday, February 26, after attempting to leave the country for a two-week break. The second, a 39-year-old man, was also fined for trying to board a flight to see family in Italy.

Under lockdown rules, all travel – domestic or international – is not allowed unless for a legally-permitted reason such as for work.

An Essex Police spokesman said the decision to fine rule breakers is not taken lightly.

They said: "A change in the weather does not mean a change in the Covid regulations but, unfortunately, some people decided that sunshine meant they could throw a party or enjoy time at the beach.

"We’d like to thank the vast majority of people in Essex who have stuck to the rules by staying at home, avoiding unnecessary journeys and isolating when required to.

"Our officers will continue to take a common-sense approach by engaging with people, explaining the regulations and encouraging them to do the right thing.

"But, where reasoned conversation is not successful, we will consider enforcement action."

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