Police car spat on in Totnes after officers tell sunbathers to move on

Police officers tasked with moving sunbathers on during the lockdown in Devon found a nasty surprise waiting for them upon returning to their vehicle.

Sergeant Tim Perrin, of Devon and Cornwall Police, reported seeing people out sunbathing, reading and drinking near the River Dart in Totnes on Wednesday (8 April).

But after asking them to move on and return home, the officer said he returned to his marked police vehicle only to find someone had spat all over one of the door handles.

A number of people responded to say how appalled they were by the act.

One person wrote: "Animals, although that's an insult to animals."

Another posted: "Totally disgusting and unacceptable behaviour!"

Someone else replied: "That’s disgusting! Please keep up the good work you are doing and it is disappointing that you are treated so badly when you are only trying to keep us all safe."

Fines issued during lockdown

Police in the West Country have resorted to fining people who break the lockdown rules, which came into force on 23 March.

Earlier this week, Devon and Cornwall Police's Assistant Chief Constable Glen Mayhew confirmed fines had been issued by officers - but only as a last resort.

Police will patrol roads across the West Country this bank holiday weekend. Credit: PA

He said more would be issued this weekend to any holidaymaker or second home owner caught travelling to the West Country.

The Government is continuing to urge people to "stay home, save lives" in a bid to delay the spread of coronavirus, thus easing pressure on the health service.

Following the introduction of new legislation, police can now order members of the public to go home or leave an area and have the power to disperse a group.

They can do this using "reasonable force, if necessary" and even make arrests if someone refuses to comply.

Those who ignore the rules could be hit with a £60 fine initially - reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days - and another for £120 for a second offence. Those who do not pay could be taken to court and risk facing costs for unlimited fines.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the West Country, including case numbers, event cancellations and venue closures, click here.

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