“IT beggars belief!” – this was the reaction from police after finding a family had travelled to Mudeford from Newcastle via Wales.
The breach of the Covid-19 lockdown was discovered as Christchurch special constables patrolled the quay’s car park on Saturday to ensure visitors were adhering to the restrictions requiring people to stay local when out for their daily exercise.
As well as admitting he and his family were from Newcastle, the driver of the car revealed they had stopped off on their way back from a camping holiday in Wales. They were then planning to head to London.
A post on Facebook by a spokesperson for the officers said afterwards: “Christchurch specials out at Mudeford Quay chatting to drivers and enquiring where they had travelled from.
“One driver reported for breaching regulations as he had travelled from Newcastle via Wales with his family.
“He admitted camping in Wales and making his way back to London. It beggars belief!”
Facebook users hit out at the rule-breaking family, with calls for public car parks to be shut to ensure only local residents could visit.
Some also claimed an influx of travellers from further afield prevented them from exercising at their nearby beaches and beauty spots.
One person wrote: “They should lock all car parks so people stay close to home for exercise.
“People are mad driving to hot spots. ‘Essential travel only’ seems to have gone out the window this lockdown.”
Another commented: “I have stopped my walks now due to how many people are driving here. It’s too busy to be safe.
“Shame when locals can’t enjoy what is on their doorstep.”
Dorset Police took to Twitter on Saturday morning, urging people to find somewhere else local to exercise if the place they usually visit is busy.
The tweet shared concerns over the crowds officers observed at beaches the previous weekend.
In the New Forest the following day, local beat officers issued a fixed penalty to a London resident who breached the lockdown by visiting their second home in the district.
Directing people to the rules listed on the government website, a police Facebook post about the incident concluded: “The message is clear: please stay at home. Thank you.”