As the warm weather continues, Dorset Police is urging residents and visitors to take care in public spaces to ensure lives are not being put at risk.

The relaxing of lockdown restrictions has led to a large increase in the number of people travelling into Dorset to enjoy the weather at beauty spots, nature reserves and beaches.

Police are asking the public to take responsibility for their actions and to ‘stay alert’ to avoid the potential spreading of coronavirus and reduce the impact on communities.

Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “Despite the ongoing lockdown measures, we are experiencing a high volume of visitors to Dorset and this is in part due to the beautiful weather we are experiencing.

“However, what is apparent is that in some locations social distancing cannot be adhered to because of the sheer number of people there. The message from Dorset Police and our partner agencies is that if an area looks too busy, please go home or elsewhere.

“The Prime Minister has announced further relaxation of the rules from Monday, June 1 and this will see more people meeting up outside and in private gardens. This will be welcome news to many families and friends, but please be mindful that we all need to stay alert and play our part to prevent more people from becoming infected or dying from this terrible virus.

“I’m also urging everyone to remember that overnight stays in campervans, motorhomes and second homes are not allowed. We are receiving increased reports of these breaches in Dorset and our officers will continue to patrol hotspot areas, engage with the people involved and encourage them to go home.”

Dorset Police has issued 882 fixed penalty notices between March 27 and May 27 to people who have allegedly breached lockdown restrictions.

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “As we begin to emerge from lockdown, it’s vital that visitors and locals alike continue to respect and protect our rural and coastal communities.

“I appreciate everyone wants to make the most of the good weather we’ve been enjoying, but please remember we have a large number of older people living in our county who are far more vulnerable to COVID-19. While Dorset has so far thankfully seen relatively few cases compared with other parts of the UK, if we do experience a spike it will be someone’s elderly relative who will be likely to pay the price.

“Many of the access routes onto our beaches and beauty spots are incredibly narrow spaces, on which it will be impossible to remain two metres apart from others, so bear this in mind and if these areas are busy please go elsewhere.”