Two walkers fined after being rescued at Cheddar Gorge

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Two walkers fined after being rescued at Cheddar Gorge

Two walkers were fined £200 for breaking lockdown rules when they had to be rescued after getting stuck on top of cliffs.   The pair were handed fi

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Two walkers were fined £200 for breaking lockdown rules when they had to be rescued after getting stuck on top of cliffs.   

The pair were handed fines for non-essential travel after they were brought down from Cheddar Gorge in Somerset on Sunday.

Elsewhere, three councillors have been warned by police over delivering leaflets and newsletters, while a couple were fined £200 after travelling 200 miles to a beauty spot, where police caught them kissing in a car. 

They were both fined £200 after the man made a 200-mile round trip from Lancashire to pick up his girlfriend in Leicestershire. 

Groups of friends in Wales have also been fined for watching the rugby together.  

.Two people have been fined for breaching Covid-19 restrictions after a rescue operation to get them down from the top of Cheddar Gorge

.Two people have been fined for breaching Covid-19 restrictions after a rescue operation to get them down from the top of Cheddar Gorge

Cirencester Town Councillor Rebecca Halifax was warned by police after delivering leaflets

Cirencester Town Councillor Rebecca Halifax was warned by police after delivering leaflets 

Gloucester City Council Lib-Dem leader Jeremy Hilton was spoken to by Gloucestershire police

Gloucester City Council Lib-Dem leader Jeremy Hilton was spoken to by Gloucestershire police

What are the rules around gatherings? 

Under current Covid laws, you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. 

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

But last month, Priti Patel announced that people attending illegal house parties will now face £800 fines as police tighten their clampdown on coronavirus rule-breaking.

The Home Secretary announced the hefty penalty for anyone attending gatherings of 15 or more people as she lashed out at revellers for spreading Covid.

The fines will double for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £6,400.

Hosts of illegal parties are already eligible for a £10,000 fine.

On Sunday afternoon, fire appliances and police officers from the Burnham-On-Sea area were called after the alarm was raised about the duo stranded on the cliff face.

A police spokesman said: ‘Specialist fire crews and Police attended Cheddar Gorge to rescue two people who found themselves stuck at the top in the dark.

‘Their trip to the Gorge was non-essential and resulted in a £200 penalty. It was a costly outing for them and our emergency services.’ 

And Cheltenham Borough Councillor Martin Horwood was reported to Gloucestershire Police for leafleting residents of his Leckhampton ward.

Cirencester Town Councillor Rebecca Halifax and Gloucester City Council Lib-Dem leader Jeremy Hilton were also subject to similar complaints in their local areas.

Gloucestershire police confirmed all three have been reported to the force. 

Mr Horwood said the letters delivered to local residents on his behalf were not political and ‘contained helpful numbers during lockdown’.

Speaking on behalf of Ms Halifax, the Cotswold Liberal Democrats said the leaflet had ‘no political branding including and was produced in a covid secure way’. 

A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary said: ‘We can confirm we have spoken to a Cheltenham councillor and Liberal Democrat representatives about reports we have received.

‘We have explained that the Government has stated there is no exemption for this activity in law and that it does not support door to door campaigning or leafleting by individual political party activists.’

Over the weekend the Melbourne and Mercia Safer Neighbourhood Team were out issuing fines in Derbyshire, including to a couple caught kissing in a car. 

Cheltenham Borough Councillor Martin Horwood (pictured in 2019), was reported to Gloucestershire Police for leafleting residents of his Leckhampton ward

Cheltenham Borough Councillor Martin Horwood (pictured in 2019), was reported to Gloucestershire Police for leafleting residents of his Leckhampton ward

The force said: ‘100-mile journey for a peck in a Peugeot. 

‘A man has been fined for making an unpalatable 100-mile-plus non-essential journey from Lancashire to Derbyshire for an encounter with his girlfriend.

‘Having picked her up from her home, the thoughtless twosome then travelled on to the well-known beauty spot in Derbyshire.

‘But their private moment was interrupted when officers challenged why they were at the reservoir, which closes its doors to the public at 4pm.

‘Officers informed the pair that their journey was indeed non-essential & they were not in a support bubble – and were then both handed £200 fixed penalty notices.’  

Rossendale Police, part of the Lancashire force, also fined 10 people at the lockdown-breaching ‘Speakeasy’ in an industrial unit on a business park in Bacup, Lancashire.

They found a full bar set up, snooker table, table football and a large TV – as well as two sheep. 

In Wales, nine people were handed fines on Saturday night after they were caught watching the England rugby match at a friend’s house. 

South Wales Police broke up the group from several households in the Uplands area of Swansea.

Further up the Swansea valley, in Ynystawe, officers issued half a dozen fixed penalty notices to people attending a birthday party. 

In Merthyr, officers from the force were called out to a Covid breach and issued another six fines as people gathered to watch the rugby together.

Officers tweeted: ‘Going to watch a Six Nations game and have a drink is not a reason to be inside someone else’s house.’ 

On Friday night, more than a dozen people at a party held at an AirBnB house were given fines and one woman faced further action after allegations of obstructing a police officer. 

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