Tees

Coronavirus: Police warn 'do not drive to exercise or walk dog'

Two dogs looking into the camera Image copyright MightyPics
Image caption The force wants people to walk their dogs locally

A police force is warning people not to drive to places for exercise or dog walking amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cleveland Police said these activities were not classed as essential travel and officers would advise people to do them closer to home.

It said it had issued 16 fixed penalty notices over the weekend, mainly for making unnecessary journeys in vehicles during the outbreak.

The Home Office said police use their professional judgement and discretion.

The government guidance urges people to "stay local".

Ch Supt Thom McLoughlin said the force would "continue to take an 'educate and persuade' approach when using the new policing powers, however, it is important that we enforce fixed penalty notices to the people who are not complying with the rules".

"Restrictions for travelling have been made very clear and people should only be travelling when essential," he said.

"This includes going to work where it cannot be done from home, shopping for food or medical supplies or helping a relative.

"Our number one priority is to protect the NHS and saves lives and it is important that we all play our part and follow the rules to prevent coronavirus from spreading."

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