Couple issued fines over 260-mile round trip for Sunday lunch

A group of police officers patrol Briggate in central Leeds on the morning of March 21, 2020, a day after the British government said it would help cover the wages of people hit by the coronavirus outbreak as it tightened restrictions to curb the spread of the disease. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Police officers patrol Briggate in central Leeds. (Getty)

Police in Yorkshire have fined a couple for undertaking a 260-mile round trip to have Sunday lunch despite the nationwide lockdown.

North Yorkshire Police said the pair had intended to have Sunday lunch with their relatives in Derbyshire but had been “let down” and decided to travel to York “to look for something to eat”.

In a post on social media the force said the couple, in their 20s, had been issued fixed penalty notices over the trip.

“We know nobody does Yorkshire puddings better than us here in Yorkshire,” a spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police wrote on Facebook.

“But they're really not worth getting into trouble for.

“While most people continued to stay home and stay safe, our officers encountered a man and a woman who drove from Derbyshire to look for something to eat in York.

“Following further enquiries, they told officers that one of their mums was going to cook them Sunday lunch but had 'let them down'. So they decided to come to York in search of a takeaway roast instead.

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Officers said the couple were told the 260-mile round trip from their home was “not an essential journey”.

“After all the usual checks were carried out, the pair who are in their 20s were given Covid fixed penalty notices. Driving 130 miles in search of Sunday lunch is not an essential journey.

“It'll be great when we can go out for a Sunday roast with family and friends.

“Thank you to everyone who continues to #StayHomeStaySafeSaveLives.”

Earliert this month the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) published guidance saying officers should issue fines more quickly when rules are broken.

NPCC figures show 32,329 fixed penalty notices were issued between 27 March and 21 December last year in England and Wales.

Home secretary Priti Patel offered her support to police forces attempting to enforce the rules and said officers "will not hesitate" to issue fines.

"The vast majority of the public have supported this huge national effort and followed the rules," Ms Patel said earlier this month.

"But the tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country's recovery from this deadly virus.

"Enforcing these rules saves lives. It is as simple as that. Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary."