Warning not to head to rural areas for daily exercise

Police in Staffordshire are asking people not to travel to the county’s popular beauty spots and countryside parks during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Chief Inspector Mark Thorley has raised concerns, after seeing visitors are still making their way to destinations including the Roaches and Cannock Chase.

Chief Inspector Thorley, who is the Moorlands area commander and force lead for Staffordshire Police Rural and Wildlife Crime team, said people were heading there for walking, cycling and days out - and even rock climbing.

He said: “While people are being responsible on the whole and many are staying at home we continue to see visitors.

“We understand people want space and fresh air, but the problem is with large numbers of people arriving and being in close proximity to each other at car parks in popular parts of the county.

“Please respect the government’s guidelines and help us to protect you and get through this difficult period.

"Everyone will have seen the photos of large numbers of people in Snowdonia and the Lake District at the weekend. This can be a problem closer to home. Please work with us so we can all get through this together.”

He said that many of the rural areas in Staffordshire were experiencing a busy time as they were involved in lambing.

“Often farms and small holdings will contain elderly people who may be vulnerable and self-isolating but still have to tend to their livestock day and night", he added.

“Well-meaning visitors to these areas are causing this section of our community to be alarmed as many public footpaths will cross such land and the gates used by the public are also frequently used by those working the land which puts them at risk unnecessarily.

“The Peak District covers three forces - Staffordshire, Cheshire and Derbyshire - and I would ask that the public do not visit during this period.”

“I would suggest that people exercise closer to their homes whilst keeping a safe distance apart. Officers will be regularly patrolling the areas in order to ensure the current orders to stay at home and not gather in groups is followed.”



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