Police criticise "selfish" Covid rule-breakers as more than 100 cars turned away from Moel Famau beauty spot on Saturday

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Police have strongly criticised "selfish Covid rule-breakers" who they say are "blatantly" breaking rules and wasting police time.More than 100 cars had been turned away from Moel Famau, which is on the border of Flintshire and England, by Saturday lunchtime. Cars would have had to drive past signs saying the road was closed.

It led to a Welsh Police and Crime Commissioner saying a new and tougher approach was needed to crack down on people breaking rules.

On Sunday, five Covid rule-breakers were caught by police after travelling to Snowdonia to climb Tryfan in the dark and wearing trainers.The force said people were also arrested over the weekend and taken to custody for failing to provide their details for breaching Covid restrictions.

North Wales is now the hardest hit area of Wales, with the new, highly transmissible strain of coronavirus having taken a firm hold there.

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Superintendent Nick Evans said: “Wales is under Alert Level 4 restrictions and infections are dangerously high. Our teams will therefore continue to target those who are blatantly breaching the rules, placing others at risk and putting further demand on our over-stretched NHS.

“Level 4 restrictions state that exercise should start and finish from home and that nobody should be travelling unless essential.“The restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. They apply to every single one of us and it’s disappointing to think that some do not believe the restrictions apply to them.

"The restrictions are all about nudging back the infection rate, so rule breaking, however small, could cost the life of yours or someone else’s loved one."

Credit: @NWPRuralCrime

On Friday, two people had to be rescued by the North East Wales Search and Rescue team after becoming "disorientated" in severe weather conditions during a walk up Moel Famau.

The pair had gone for a walk from home but they raised the alarm by phoning the policingafter losing their bearings as conditions deteriorated rapidly due to snow and poor visibility.

The regulations allow for fixed penalty notices to be issued ranging from £60 to £10,000. But the region's police and crime commissioner Arfon Jones said it is time for a tougher approach.

He said: “I would like to commend most people for behaving responsibly at this difficult time but those who choose not to can expect to be held to account.“Unfortunately, there are far too many selfish people who are flouting the guidelines and they are turbo-charging the spread of this deadly virus.

“Their actions are totally irresponsible and life-threatening. If they have no regard for their own health, they should think of their loved ones.

“It is now time to forget the mantra of engage, encourage and educate and focus on enforcement so we can clamp down on the Covid rule-breakers and prevent this reckless behaviour.

"The stay home and stay safe message is all more important because the new mutant strain of Covid-19 is even more infectious.

“This has inevitably ramped up the threat of community transmission, with 70 per cent of cases in north Wales linked the new variant. As a consequence, the people of north Wales are at risk like never before."He added: “Being a police officer can be a difficult and dangerous at the best of times but North Police is facing unprecedented challenges as a result of the pandemic.

"The last thing our officers need is for their time be wasted by selfish people who think they are above the law."