Coronavirus: New police powers to keep people indoors come to Shrewsbury as woman stopped

By Rob Smith | Shrewsbury | Coronavirus | Published:

One Shrewsbury woman has already had a brush with new police powers to keep people in their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lab technician Hayley Townsend was walking home from work in the early hours of Tuesday, just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation and announced sweeping new restrictions on people's movements to slow the spread of Covid-19, when she was stopped by a police car.

The new government advice is that most people should only leave their homes to shop for necessities, for exercise (but only once a day) or if their work is considered essential.

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As a food safety tester, Miss Townsend falls in the latter category.

She said: "We do analytical testing of food – make sure it’s safe from microbiological contamination, mostly test for salmonella and listeria.

"We need to keep working so the supermarkets have food.

"I work 3.30pm to midnight most days, I left at about 00.30am on Monday night as we have less staff than usual.


"I got a lift part of the way home, we passed someone on a bike that got stopped by the police as well.

"I walked from near Castle Fields to where I live in the town centre, the police stopped me near Pride Hill outside Marks & Spencer I think, it was about 00.50am by then.

'They seemed friendly enough'

"They asked what I was doing outside, then where I was coming from and going to and if I had far to go.


"I explained I was coming home from work and said I had a note – our bosses printed us letters so we could still work once we heard about the lockdown.

"I think I was only speaking to them for five minutes, I just wanted to get home.

"They were in a car and there were two of them I could see sitting in the front.

"I was surprised and a little worried at first, I kind of handed my paper over in a panic but they seemed friendly enough.

"I was a little irritated, if this is going to happen every time I go to work."

Rob Smith

By Rob Smith

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based at Ketley in Telford.


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