Police warn public they will prosecute people who break coronavirus rules over Easter weekend

  • Watch a video report from ITV Anglia's Sarah Cooper

Northamptonshire Police are to start handing out fines for people who break the coronavirus lockdown rules.

The force's chief constable Nick Adderley said up until now officers had mainly been issuing guidance, but that a minority of people were persistently breaching the government guidelines.

As a result, he has ordered that fines and fixed penalty notices start to be handed out, which could result in people appearing in court.

Mr Adderley said: "The role of the police is to preserve lives and protect property and we have to do that and we will do that.

"If things don't improve, and we don't get the compliance we would expect, then the next stage will be road blocks and it will be stopping people to ask why they are going where they're going.

"This is about reasonableness and if people are not reasonable in terms of the journeys and the trips they are taking, they are going to fall foul of the law.

"We will not, at this stage, be setting up road blocks. We will not, at this stage, start to marshal supermarkets and checking the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it's a legitimate, necessary item.

"But again, be under no illusion, if people do not heed the warnings and the pleas I'm making today, we will start to do that."

Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk Police, spoke to ITV Anglia on Thursday:

The Chief Constable of Norfolk Police, Simon Bailey, also urged residents to stay indoors over the weekend.

He asked the public to keep key workers safe by following the rules.

Mr Bailey said: "We want to protect our communities, I want to protect my colleagues, I want to protect those individuals working in care homes and in the NHS.

"It is so important that we understand why we’re doing this - the message could not be clearer."

Suffolk's chief constable also recorded a message to the public:

With good weather expected, the government have urged people to stay at home over the Easter weekend.

The coronavirus lockdown rules state that people are only allowed outside for exercise, to go shopping, to go to work (if absolutely necessary), or to help vulnerable people.

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