An investigation has been launched after a farmer was allegedly punched 15 times and kicked in the ribs when he asked a Peak District walker to “go home” during the coronavirus lockdown.
Derbyshire Police said the victim, from Edale, was “left shaken and bruised” after he was assaulted while disinfecting his gates at around 9.45am on Sunday due to the “hundreds of people” walking past.
The force has asked all those considering a trip to the Peak District in the warm weather to stay at home – adding: “While we have this fantastic space in our county, right now is not the time to be using it”.
A message posted on Facebook on behalf of the farmer read: “I am a farmer in Edale I went out at 9 am to feed my sheep on the side of the footpath, I was spraying the gate handles with disinfectant due to the hundreds of people that went through them yesterday.
“I got a very funny look of a man walking and said to him there are too many people here will you please just go home!
“I have just had to phone the police as my thanks was to be punched about 15 times then kicked in the ribs as I hit the floor.
“Please, please, please, leave us alone.”
Addressing the incident, Derbyshire Police said in a statement: “We were called at about 9.45am yesterday following a report of an assault on a farmer who was disinfecting gates due to the number of walkers passing through over the weekend.
“The victim was left shaken and bruised but did not suffer any serious, life-threatening or altering injuries.
“The offender was white, aged about 40, with fair hair and glasses. He wore standard walking gear, a hat and a ‘snood’.”
Speaking about those travelling to the Peak District in the warm weather, the force tweeted: “What a lovely day! The perfect day to drive up into the #PeakDistrict for a walk, bike ride, climb or horse ride, isn’t it? No, actually it isn’t.
“We’re seeing a lot of confusion over whether people are allowed to travel to the Peaks to undertake daily exercise while the Government are asking us to stay at home.
“While we have this fantastic space in our county, right now is not the time to be using it.
“Daily exercise should be taken locally to your home. Under government guidance all travel is limited to essential travel only.
“This is to help ensure that our emergency services aren’t put under even more pressure during this time.
“Should you trip, fall or have a road traffic accident while you are travelling to, or are out in the Peaks, then this will add additional pressure to an already stretched service.”
Police have asked anyone with information about the assault to contact them via their website, Facebook or Twitter, and quote crime ref 20*157808.