Fourteen people have been fined after repeatedly trying to leave the country in breach of the Government’s Covid-19 regulations.

Kent Police officers at the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel engaged with more than fifty people between Thursday 12 November and Sunday 15 November, advising them to go home and reminding them of the current restrictions. Some of the people they spoke to were also travelling in groups of more than two and mixing with other households.

All those stopped were attempting to leave the country without reasonable excuse, during a time in which being outdoors and leaving the UK is not permitted unless for specific reasons. This is part of a set of four-week restrictions in place to keep people safe from the Coronavirus.

Officers at the port engaged with the individuals including eight people in one car from two separate families who were attempting to travel from London to Bulgaria. They also spoke to the occupants of three other cars, each containing two people, from Leicester, Birmingham and Thetford. Officers reminded them all of their responsibilities and encouraged them to adhere to the guidelines.

Despite the advice, all four cars attempted to leave the country via the Channel Tunnel instead. They were stopped again by officers and each given a fixed penalty notice of £200. The driver of the car containing eight people was also given a fixed penalty notice for having no insurance.

In addition, officers at the Channel Tunnel stopped and spoke to a man from London who was trying to travel to France. He was given advice but then left and attempted to cross at the port shortly afterwards. As such, he too was issued with a fine.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: ‘The Government has made it very clear that the best way to support the NHS and save lives is to stay at home and it is our job to ensure people are respecting the measures designed to protect everyone.

‘Until 2 December people should only be leaving home for the reasons the Government has listed, which includes – for example – work, exercise, medical appointments, food and caring for vulnerable people. Everyone should familiarise themselves with the full list of exemptions and understand what is expected of them at this time.

‘It is fair to say that the majority of people in Kent have shown throughout the pandemic that they respect and adhere to the Covid-19 regulations. Nevertheless officers have been out and about across the whole county engaging, explaining and encouraging people to comply with restrictions.

‘In most situations, we can resolve breaches without having to issue a fine but in cases like these, when people blatantly disregard the advice and refuse to comply, we are left with no choice but to take enforcement action.

‘In Kent we will continue to police in a sensible, proportionate and fair manner and ask that everyone continues to take personal responsibility for controlling the spread of the virus and protect themselves from harm.’

By Ed

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