Police plea for visitors to stay away from nature reserve after huge crowds

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testwood lakes
Inconsiderate parking at Testwood Lakes (photo: Hampshire police)

POLICE have urged people to keep away from a popular Totton nature reserve after swarms of visitors descended during the recent heatwave.

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The plea was made in a Facebook post yesterday (Thursday) evening which told how officers were having to deal with incidents of anti-social behaviour and inconsiderate parking at Testwood Lakes.

“Do not go to Testwood Lakes!” the post said.

“Officers from our colleagues in response and patrol are currently at the lakes, attempting to deal with a number of issues including ASB [anti-social behaviour] and parking enforcement due to the large amount of people attending, and parking wherever they please.

“We want people to enjoy the lakes as much as possible, but use your common sense. Don’t ruin it for everyone else.”

This incident comes three weeks after a spate of previous disturbances and criminal damage incidents led to patrols being given new powers to force people off Testwood Lakes.

As reported in the A&T, the Section 35 dispersal order can stop people returning to the site for at least 48 hours, with breaches resulting in possible arrest and prosecution.

Yesterday’s trouble was reflected elsewhere in the Forest as the mercury hit around 30C, with further reports of bad parking and abuse.

A post on a local police Twitter account told how an officer had to deal with a public order incident in Lepe, which involved verbal abusive.

Twenty vehicles were also found parked on a narrow road in Exbury, blocking off a horse trailer’s access to a field. This incident resulted in five motorists being handed £30 fines for obstruction.

These incidents took place as BCP Council declared a major incident at Bournemouth after thousands of sun worshippers flocked to its beaches yesterday and on Wednesday.

This prompted a warning from the government’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, that Covid-19 infections could surge again if social distancing is ignored. Health Secretary Matt Hancock also warned beaches could be shut.

Narrow access at Exbury (photo: Hampshire police)
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