Somerset carer in tears after being fined for Covid lockdown rule breach at a beauty spot
A Somerset carer says she was reduced to tears after being fined for breaching lockdown rules while sitting in her car at a beauty spot. Andrea Johnson from Watchet works as a home carer. She travelled from a care client in Williton to Dead Woman's Ditch, a local beauty spot, to take a break, eat her sandwich and then go on a stroll.
She said she was sat in her car at the car park in Over Stowey when a police officer issued her with a £200 fine for "not having a reasonable excuse" in travelling to the area.
Miss Johnson says the fine is "really unfair" as she was just sitting in her car about to "stretch her legs".
She said: "I had just finished my morning of work and had the rest of the day off so went up there just minding my own business in my car planning on going for a walk.
"I had my headphones in and was just about to eat my sandwich before going on the walk before this happened.
"This might be the most expensive chicken slice I've ever had.
"I work so hard with two key worker jobs and I feel I do not deserve this."
The coronavirus rules say people must not leave or be outside of their home except where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ and should 'stay local' when going for exercise.
The 53-year-old said: "I thought we could go somewhere locally for a walk as I think it is less than 10 miles from there to my home.
"I asked if I could be given a warning instead as I've never done anything before but was told no.
"The officer said it didn't count as essential travel and I got the fine. It took a few weeks to turn up in the post so I thought perhaps he had had a change of heart bless him but no.
"As I drove away I did get a bit teary thinking how has this happened. I've been trying my best and got a fine that is really expensive."
Miss Johnson said she is going to appeal the fine and go to court if necessary.
An Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson said: "Communities across the Avon and Somerset policing area are asking officers to enforce coronavirus regulations at beauty spots, while the government advice remains to stay at home and avoid unnecessary travel.
"Fines issued for breaching Coronavirus regulations can be contested in court."
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