Warning to campers flouting COVID-19 rules

  Posted: 04.06.20 at 15:09 by The Editor

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Campers staying in caravans, campervans and tents overnight are breaking COVID-19 laws and face a fine or prosecution, Cornwall Council and Devon and Cornwall Police have warned. Their joint message comes after increased reports of people camping near beaches and beauty spots such as Porthcurno and Bodmin Moor. From Monday Cornwall Council restarted enforcing parking safety rules. Officers have so far issued a total of 14 penalty charges to drivers of mobile home vehicles staying overnight in Council carparks illegally. Thirteen of these notices were served in Newquay and one was issued in Bude.  Police have warned if they receive reports of people staying in caravans and campervans overnight they will investigate, enforce regulations and ask occupiers to return home. Since 13 May when lockdown measures were amended, Devon and Cornwall Police have issued a total of 92 fines to individuals for breaches of COVID-19 legislation with 63% of those fines related to overnight stays and second homes. Campsites remain closed as part of the emergency business closures and Cornwall Council continues to investigate any reports of businesses suspected to be breaking the rules. Rob Nolan, Cornwall’s portfolio holder for the environment and public protection, said: “With the recent spell of sunny weather we’re seeing more people camping in the countryside but we’re reminding everyone that under the COVID-19 laws overnight stays outside your home are illegal and you can face a fine or prosecution. “These rules were introduced to prevent the spread of this virus, protect our communities and relieve pressure on our NHS services, so please, enjoy our beaches and coastal paths but go home at the end of the day and if you’re a potential visitor planning a camping trip here please come back later.”  A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “A crucial part of this process for us has been to work closely with our communities in order to shape the approach we took and to enable us to understand the concerns and issues within our own towns and villages. Several communities told us that they were concerned about second homes and overnight stays so that was an area we focussed on, particularly since the changes to lockdown earlier this month. “Further changes in lockdown restrictions mean that from this week, up to six people, from different households, can meet outside but it is crucial to remember that individuals still must return home at the end of the day – overnight stays for holiday or social purposes are not permitted, nor is staying in a second home. Where reports of COVID-19 breaches are made to police, officers will use their discretion to engage, educate and encourage before using enforcement as a last resort where necessary. “The majority of people are continuing to play their part in this national endeavour and it’s important that we all continue to take personal responsibility for our actions and Think Twice – is it safe and is it fair?” If you’re concerned that a vehicle is parked illegally or that a business may be breaking the rules, please contact Cornwall Council on 0300 123 1118 or at [email protected]   For any social gatherings concerns contact the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency.  Cornwall Council has not been given any legal powers under the Coronavirus emergency laws to ask people to leave their second homes.  The Government has produced guidance on business closures for further reference. However, if you require additional advice please do not hesitate to contact the Council’s Business Support Hub at [email protected]  Story posted on June 4, 2020

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