Women Fined For Driving Five Miles For Walk Claim Police Seemed Desperate To Fine Them
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The two women who were fined £200 for driving five miles to a reservoir for a walk claim police officers seemed desperate to issue the fines, with presenter Holly Willoughby arguing their actions seemed 'heavy-handed'.
Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, both 27, said they were surrounded by police when they arrived separately at Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire on Wednesday 6 January.
As well as each being hit with the fine, they said officers claimed the peppermint teas they'd brought from Starbucks constituted a picnic.
Speaking on This Morning today, the duo explained they felt disappointed by what happened, as host Holly Willoughby said: "It seems very heavy-handed to come down on them in this way."
Eliza said: "The reservoir that we visited was about five miles from home, it was about a ten minute drive.
"We'd learnt from social media that the place where we live was really busy with walkers, as it has been throughout this pandemic during the lockdown.
"And so we decided it would be safer for us to head out somewhere which was more of an open space and it would keep us safer, and it would be safer for everyone else as well."
She continued: "The officers approached us as we parked, we parked two spaces away from each other to ensure we really were complying with social distancing, and the officers soon started walking towards our vehicles.
"We were in shock when it happened."
Jessica said there were five officers that came to speak to them, but she thought it was likely 'there were more'.
She said: "When we first drove in there was a police van and there was a police car as well and the men and women stood around the vehicles, but five definitely came to our cars.
"Straight away when they came over they started questioning as to why we were there. The initial question was were we friends and where were we from.
"We explained that we were two villages away from where we were and we'd come for a socially distanced walk, and explained that we were aware of the guidelines and we were allowed to travel to an open space.
"The officers went on to tell us that we had gone too far out of our local area."
Eliza added: "I think ultimately their goal was to issue us with a fine.
"They were looking to find information that they could justify that we had broken the rules."
The two women were baffled as they were read their Miranda Rights by officers, with Jessica saying they weren't aware of breaking any rules.
She explained: "I said, 'Look, we've come in two separate cars, we're social distancing, we've even brought our own drinks separately,' and the police officers went on to say you're not allowed to do that as it's classed as a picnic... when did this happen?!"
A Derbyshire Police spokesperson said last week: "The current guidance states that while you are able to exercise you should do so locally - defined as being within your village, town or city area.
"We of course understand that there may be valid reasons for travelling outside of these areas for exercise, however, driving to a location - where exercise could easily have been taken closer to a person's home - is clearly not in the spirit of the national effort to reduce our travel, reduce the possible spread of the disease and reduce the number of deaths.
"Each officer will use their professional judgement on a case-by-case basis, however, people should expect to be challenged and understand the clear reasons why they may be asked about their movements given the critical situation the NHS currently finds itself in."
Following clarification from the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) which stated that 'Covid regulations which officers enforce and which enables them to issue FPNs (fixed penalty notices) for breaches, do not restrict the distance travelled for exercise', Derbyshire Police said FPNs would be reviewed.
The force added: "All fixed penalty notices during this relevant period that have been issued will be reviewed for compliance. All recipients will be contacted."
LADbible has reached out to Derbyshire Police for further comment.