‘To collect a bonsai tree’ among excuses given to police by people breaking lockdown rules in Sussex

Police are urging people to only make necessary journeys after handing out more than 70 fines across Sussex over the last week.

Officers said they issued 74 Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) between last Friday (April, 17) and yesterday (Friday, 24) to people breaching coronavirus lockdown measures.

According to police, excuses included a driver travelling from Essex to Chichester at 2am who said they were collecting a Bonsai tree, and a visitor from London wanting to take photos of the stars at Beachy Head.

Two others have attempted to travel to the county to visit people who either had young children, or in one case ‘to visit a friend who is showing coronavirus symptoms’.

Police said another individual drove to a police station in the middle of the night to beep the car horn at officers, in order to ‘waste police time’.

Temporary Chief Inspector Simon Burroughs said:

“Please take a moment to think about the impact your actions during the coronavirus crisis are having on public health.

“We want you to be able to look back on this challenging time and be proud of your efforts to protect the NHS and save lives.

“We’d like to give a huge thanks to those doing their bit and following the guidance, which includes not meeting up with other people from outside your household or making unnecessary journeys.

“At the moment we’re asking those considering coming down from other counties to visit Sussex to stargaze, go on road trips, visit friends or for any other unnecessary reason to please stay at home.

“We will be patrolling our rural and urban communities over the weekend, continuing our approach of engaging with the public and explaining why it is important to do the right thing and follow government guidance.

“However, we will be using enforcement where necessary.

“The message is crystal clear – stay home, protect our NHS and save lives.”

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