Cops in England warn vigilantes off confronting cyclists and families travelling to countryside in coronavirus lockdown – The Sun

FRUSTRATED Brits have turned to "vigilantism" by blocking roads and confronting cyclists in an attempt to deter them from travelling to the countryside for exercise during the lockdown.

The National Rural Crime Network has received reports of "small-scale vigilantism" from people who are taking the law into their own hands and confronting those who they believe are flouting the coronavirus social distancing rules.

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Police are urging the so-called vigilantes not to take the law into their own hands when it comes to making people adhere to the social distancing rules.

The chairwoman of the National Rural Crime Network said people have been "aggressively driving at cyclists" over concerns they have travelled long distances to the countryside.

Julia Mulligan, who is also the Conservative police, fire and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, told the Guardian that people travelling to the exercise was causing anxiety.

She said: "We've had small-scale vigilantism, if you like, so communities blocking off roads, people driving aggressively at cyclists.

"People have been making it clear that people coming from long distances to enjoy our local beauty spots that are not local to them are not welcome."

Ms Mulligan added that people had put signs up and called out cyclists, but the incidents weren't criminal.

"What it's doing is creating tensions in communities," said the chairwoman. "And we don't want tension – we've all got to come out of this the other side."

A tourist and farmer nearly came to blows after the farmer reportedly confronted the man for travelling 200 miles with his brother to pitch a tent in near Llyn Cowlyd in North Wales.

People have been making it clear that people coming from long distances to enjoy our local beauty spots that are not local to them are not welcome.

Brits have been told that they must not leave their properties unless it is for essential reasons.

But there are no restrictions placed on driving and the Government has said people can leave their home for one form of exercise a day – (a run, walk, or cycle) – alone or with members of your household.

Earlier this month the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and the National College of Policing issued new advice to say people can drive to do a country walk but only if the walk is longer than the drive.

Forces have powers to impose £60 fines on those who break the lockdown rules.


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A NPCC spokeswoman encouraged people to report concerns to police, adding:

She said: “Police forces and the government have rightly continued to advise the public not travel to travel long distances in the car to exercise, and police will use discretion and judgment in deciding what is and what isn’t ‘necessary’ and ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances – being mindful of the purpose of the regulations to prevent transmission of infection. ”

A government spokesperson added: “The overwhelming majority of people are doing the right thing by staying home.

"The police have the powers to both encourage people and, if necessary, enforce these measures.”

The news comes as the NHS England Medical Director, Stephen Powis, said that while the use of public transport had fallen consistently since the start of the pandemic, there has recently been a slight increase in the use of motor vehicles.

Speaking at today's coronavirus press briefing, Mr Powis said: "There is maybe a hint of maybe a little bit of an increase in the use of motor vehicles, and, as I said yesterday, we need to ensure that this does not mean that we are not continuing to comply with the government instructions on social distancing."

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