Norfolk Police reveals big rise in weekend lockdown fines
Norfolk Police has revealed it handed out nearly twice as many fines for lockdown breaches this weekend as it did over the previous one.
Senior officers say the Hunstanton area was again one of those most heavily affected by visitors from other parts of the country flouting the rules.
And senior health and council leaders have warned that now is not the time to ignore the lockdown regulations.
Figures released by the Norfolk force this afternoon showed that 160 fines were issued across the county this weekend, up from 87 last weekend.
Although a district breakdown hasn't been issued, officers say Hunstanton was one of several coastal areas that saw significant numbers of visitors, despite the "Stay at Home" message.
Four house parties were also recorded in the county, while 132 warnings were also issued, up from 98 last weekend.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Julie Wvendth said this evening: "We have seen a number of blatant breaches this weekend, many by people who live outside of the county who have travelled to coastal areas.
"A combination of better weather, lockdown fatigue and the impending easing of restrictions will no doubt influence some people’s behaviour.
"However, the ‘stay at home’ rule remains in place and while the roadmap out of lockdown offers new confidence, we still need to take action now to get us there.”
The plea to stick to the "Stay at Home" message comes as latest figures suggest the fall in cases in West Norfolk may be starting to slow.
Figures for the seven days to last Wednesday, February 24, showed 146 confirmed coronavirus cases in the borough, down by 12 per cent on the previous week.
Most other parts of the county are seeing a more rapid decline, while there are also concerns that cases are on the rise again in neighbouring areas across the county boundary, such as South Holland and Fenland.
Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s Director of Public Health, said: "Most people in Norfolk have done an excellent job of respecting the rules so far and have played a key part in the fall in infections rates we’re seeing now.
"It is important that we keep to the rules and stay local to keep numbers of cases down.
"I know most people will, but where they don’t - I support the police in taking enforcement action.”
Norfolk County Council leader Andrew Proctor added: "The rules are clear – we must stay in our local area for most things including exercise, in order to curb the spread of the virus.
"We need everyone in Norfolk to pull together in that time to keep the number of cases low. Now is not the time to ignore the restrictions that are in place for the protection of everyone locally and nationally.”