Buying a bouncy castle, picking up a puppy or ‘going for a spin’ are not valid reasons for being out and about during the coronavirus crisis, police have warned.
Ahead of the bank holiday weekend Dyfed-Powys Police is reminding the public that government restrictions around travel remain in place across Wales.
As part of ongoing efforts to safeguard public health, officers will continue to monitor travel across the force area through roadside checks and patrols.
Insp Andy Williams said the vast majority of people had made “extraordinary efforts” to comply with the new rules over the last seven weeks.
“We have been working hard as a force to engage with our communities, educate drivers and encourage people to do their bit by staying home and saving lives,” he said.
“But unfortunately we have continued to see some individuals flouting the rules by travelling to second homes and other holiday accommodation, driving hundreds of miles under the guise of seeking exercise, and in some cases attempting to take advantage of quieter roads to commit crime.”
While most people have listened to government guidelines asking people to stay home unless absolutely necessary, others have not – with their reasons for doing so ranging from misguided to bizarre.
These have included people driving to the Dyfed-Powys region from London, Luton, Bristol and beyond to buy or look at dogs, with one Manchester man telling officers his potential pet ‘wouldn’t be a puppy anymore’ if he waited until lockdown was over.
Among those also crossing the border for non-essential travel were a Bath couple who wanted to walk Pen y Fan, a trio who travelled from Gloucester and Kettering to camp in the Brecon Beacons, and two men stopped in Brecon after driving from Derby to pick up a remote-controlled car.
The driver was also arrested for drug-driving.
A couple were left distinctly deflated after officers told them a 100-mile round trip to Pembrokeshire to collect a bouncy castle they had purchased on Facebook was not considered essential travel.
And words of advice were also issued to three people in Pembrokeshire who claimed they did not know the country was in lockdown as they didn’t watch the news, and were ‘dropping a friend home after a visit’.
Other unsatisfactory excuses for being out have included a Cardiff man who told officers in Storey Arms he was taking his new car out for a try, and two men who were fined in Powys after claiming they had been delivering food to a relative in North Wales but didn’t know the address.
And a couple stopped at 1am with a boot-full of fishing gear initially told officers they were going to collect some rice from a friend – despite the co-ordinates for Saundersfoot beach clearly having been programmed into their sat nav.
Insp Williams added: “It is vital that, for as long as the restrictions remain in place, everyone takes responsibility for their actions and ensures they are only travelling when absolutely necessary.
“Our continued aim is to support public health by keeping our key worker colleagues, and the general public, safe.”
Shopping for basic necessities such as food, daily exercise, travelling to and from work if you are unable to work from home, or having a genuine medical need remain the main reasons for people to need to leave their homes.
Separate advice has been issued to individuals and households who are ‘shielding’ due to existing health vulnerabilities.
For more information on the current restrictions, visit bit.ly/DPPCovid19