Two women in Derbyshire, England were swarmed by police and fined 200 pounds for driving five miles to go for a walk Wednesday, BBC reported.
The police caught the women arriving at Foremark Reservoir from North West Leicestershire. One of the women, Jessica Allen, said, “As we drove in there was a police van, a police car, and there were loads of police there … I genuinely thought someone had been murdered; the place is normally so quiet. The next thing, my car is surrounded. I got out of my car thinking ‘There’s no way they’re coming to speak to us’. Straight away they start questioning us,” BBC reported. (RELATED: LA Mayor Bans Unnecessary Walking As Part Of New COVID-19 Restrictions)
The police then read the women their rights. Allen told the police that she and her friend Eliza Moore “had come in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us,” to which an officer replied, “You can’t do that as it’s classed as a picnic,” BBC reported.
Current lockdown restrictions in the U.K. permit people to exercise outside, but require them to remain in their “local area.” However, the legislation does not provide a maximum distance that people can travel for exercise, according to BBC. (RELATED: These Politicians Don’t Like To Follow Their Own COVID-19 Restrictions)
Parliament Member for North West Leicestershire, Andrew Bridgen, expressed concern about the situation in a tweet.
I’m concerned that my constituents are facing fines from Derbyshire Police for taking exercise in what I would class as the local area. It is important that common sense is used when enforcing guidelines, and a fine rather than issuing guidance appears to be rather over zealous https://t.co/9X5oKOm2cc
— Andrew Bridgen (@ABridgen) January 8, 2021
Human rights lawyer Adam Wagner stated, “There is no law against traveling to exercise. The guidance is not legally binding and the police have no power to enforce it unless it is reflected in the lockdown regulations which in this case it is not.”
Derbyshire Police replied saying each police officer had the power to decide what is reasonable on a case-by-case basis, BBC reported.