English urged to ‘check the rules’ as 1,000 cars turned away from Welsh village

A police force in Wales has urged English visitors to check its lockdown rules after being forced to turn away 1,000 cars from a beauty spot in just two days.

A sign encouraging visitors to stay away in Mid Wales
A sign encouraging visitors to stay away in Mid Wales

Tourists from the Midlands, London and Bristol have continued to flock to Wales despite its stricter lockdown restrictions.

Last weekend more than 1,000 cars were turned around by police after visitors attempted to access the area known as ‘waterfall country’.

Many of those stopped claimed they thought the rules around travel were the same as in England, while others had deliberately flouted them.

“We have had people shrug their shoulders and say ‘I thought it was OK to travel’ or ‘I didn’t think I would be caught’,” said Chief Inspector Adam Ellis, of Dyfed-Powys Police.

“Others have been so determined to spend the day at these beauty spots that even after being turned around they have attempted to sneak back into the county via another route.”

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The force said 72 per cent of people reported for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions in Powys since March 27 have been from outside the police force area.

In England, people can now travel an unlimited distance for exercise and to access beauty spots.

But the Welsh Government has said people must remain local – ideally not travelling further than five miles from their home – for exercise or limited leisure pursuits, and this also applies to anyone travelling across the border.

Wales’ three national parks – which include popular sites such as Snowdon, the Elan valley and the Pembrokeshire coast – currently remain closed to the public, as do all National Trust car parks and properties.

Chief Inspector Ellis said: “Our officers have worked hard to engage with the public at every opportunity throughout these unprecedented times, with enforcement remaining a last resort.

“Instead we have explained what we are doing and why, and encouraged people to make the best choices to protect public health in Wales.

“But I want to emphasise to any potential visitors that until there is clear direction that you can travel to Wales, stay at home or local to where you live.

“These areas will still be here to visit when restrictions are lifted.”

Newtown roads policing unit also tweeted that more than 150 vehicles were stopped and checked on Tuesday, close to Pistyll Waterfall.

The post said: "Sad to see so many of them breaching the Covid-19 restrictions travelling long distances into Wales.

"Thank you to the local support given to officers."

The latest Welsh Government advice is available at gov.wales/coronavirus

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