TOURISTS who were fined for travelling 170 miles from Coventry to Dorset have been blasted for breaking lockdown rules – as police and councillors pleaded with tourists to stay at home.

Police officers visited Lulworth Estate as part of their patrols on Saturday, January 9 and found two car loads of tourists who had travelled from the Midlands to visit Durdle Door.

Under Government's guidelines during the national lockdown, people can go out once a day for exercise such as walking, but must stay within their local area.

As a result, police officers issued £200 Covid-19 Fixed Penalty Notices to two people and instructed them to return home. According to Google Maps, they would have made an approximate 340-mile round trip to and from Coventry.

Their actions have been strongly criticised, with some calling it ‘shocking’ and questioning why they travelled so far despite a national lockdown.

Dorset Police confirmed two people had been fined and said that ‘travelling over 170 miles for exercise is completely unacceptable'.

Locals 'fed up' with Covid breaches amid lockdown 

Dorset Echo: Councillor Laura Miller has helped Lulworth residents in dealing with traffic, litter picking and various issues Councillor Laura Miller has helped Lulworth residents in dealing with traffic, litter picking and various issues

Councillor Laura Miller, who represents the area for Dorset Council, said she and residents are ‘fed up’ with people breaching Covid-19 regulations.

She said: “They are ridiculous excuses, really. 

“I think it is a combination of living in a pretty place and that people want to visit it, but it means you feel a bit more vulnerable when people visit, especially during a lockdown.”

During last Summer, thousands of people travelled to the beauty spot, leading to anger among residents and condemnation from politicians and commentators.

At the time, councillor Miller helped residents direct the influx of travelling tourists as well as organising litter picks.

Mrs Miller said the visiting numbers are 'not as bad' as the first lockdown, but noted that people are becoming frustrated with tourists travelling from as far as Bath to walk their dogs.

She said: “The problem is that you walk your dog, have a stop and chat with someone and say they’re from Bath. It hasn’t stopped.

“I think it is very difficult for local people and when people mention to them where they are from, they walk off and they cannot identify them to the police.

“People are congregating and having drinks, which is obviously not alright. I am aware some residents have contacted the police.

“Local people are trying to safe and stay local and in the area.”

Referring to Saturday’s incident, she said she was unable to understand the mentality of someone wanting to travel a great distance during a national lockdown.

Dorset Echo: Roads were closed in a bid to limit traffic and visitors in Lulworth last Summer. Roads were closed in a bid to limit traffic and visitors in Lulworth last Summer.

Councillor Miller said: “I don’t understand why anyone would do that as a day trip. But you have to look at the hospitals and how busy they are and why threat is serious.

“I cannot think why you would want to get up, get changed and say you want to travel so far just for a walk.

“Why would you plan a day out when you’re being bombarded with messaging about how severe the situation is? I cannot understand the mentality.

“I think the message is that it is not forever. Just stay local for a month or two.

“There is support out there if you need it. There is no reason for anyone to need to go out. It is that simple.”

Ahead of an anticipated busy Summer, Mrs Miller and residents have already begun plans to effectively tackle traffic and litter issues in the area, as well as create ‘emergency plans’.

Lulworth 'very quiet' as two people from Coventry fined

A spokesman for Lulworth Estate noted the car parks at the estate had been 'very quiet' and was predominately visited by local visitors over the weekend.

He said: "A gentle reminder that we are in a national lockdown. If you are not local, please resist the urge to drive to Durdle Door, Lulworth or any site outside of your immediate vicinity for exercise.

"The police issued fines when two car loads of people had driven all the way from Coventry this weekend.

"The occupants of two cars were fined by police who were driving round checking visitors to Dorset.

“The car parks at Lulworth have been very quiet with between two or two cars and, at the most 30 over the weekend. As far as we understand the remainder were local visitors.”

'Travelling over 170 miles for exercise is completely unacceptable' 

A spokeswoman for Dorset Police said: “During the morning of Saturday, January 9, officers carried out proactive patrols throughout the county, including at the Lulworth Estate.

“Officers engaged with a group of people who had travelled to Durdle Door from Coventry. Two people were issued with fixed penalty notices for breaching COVID-19 regulations. Travelling over 170 miles for exercise is completely unacceptable.

“The Government is calling for people to stay at home and only leave for a limited number of reasons, this includes for exercise.

“However, they are asking people to do this in their local area. As per the Government guidance, ‘stay local’ means stay in the village, town or part of the city where you live. You can read the full guidance here:

“Our officers, including our dedicated COVID-19 patrol officers, will continue to use a 4 Es approach of escalation, where they will engage, explain and encourage people to follow the regulations.

“Where this is not effective, then enforcement action will be taken when reasonable, proportionate and in line with COVID-19 regulations.

“Positive cases are rising at an unprecedented scale nationally and tragically over 80,000 people have died from the virus.

“More than 1,000 people were dying a day last week. The situation is dire both nationally and in Dorset.

“Our NHS colleagues are struggling to cope with the demand being placed upon them and are putting themselves at risk every day to protect the lives of others.

“The number of people in Dorset’s hospitals battling coronavirus has doubled since New Year’s Eve and it is anticipated we have not yet reached the peak.

“We all have a social responsibility to stick within the rules and we would ask that people behave responsibly to save lives and protect the NHS."