Coronavirus: People in Harrogate 'disregarding' stay at home advice

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image captionThe concerns come as Harrogate's convention centre is converted into a 500-bed hospital

Some residents in a North Yorkshire spa town are showing a "blatant disregard" for stay at home advice, police say.

Officers in Harrogate said they had received numerous reports of picnics, street parties, and people meeting up with friends for a walk.

North Yorkshire Police said it was disappointing and meant the force would be stepping up patrols in the area.

The concerns come as work continues to transform Harrogate's conference centre into a Nightingale hospital.

One officer tweeted at the weekend that he was "deeply ashamed" after seeing a group of residents having a street party.

In the tweet, which has been deleted, Andrew Ingram said: "Harrogate is by far the worse place for ignoring lockdown."

Insp Penny Taylor said: "Whilst we know the majority of people in the town are doing the right thing and staying at home, despite the beautiful weather, it is unacceptable that some people are showing such a blatant disregard for the government's guidance."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionPolice said patrols would disperse groups and enforce social distancing measures

Insp Taylor said there had also been a rise in the number of motorists travelling into the town for non-essential reasons.

"To those who think the rules don't apply to them, please remember our NHS colleagues and the very difficult job they are doing right now," she added.

She said the patrols would disperse groups and enforce social distancing measures and warned "seeing your mates can wait".

Guidelines state people should stay at home except to buy food or medicines, or go to work.

The advice is to take limited exercise near your home, and if you go out, to stay 2m (6ft) away from other people at all times.

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