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Women fined £200 during nature walk have penalties reversed

Two women who received £200 fixed penalty notices after travelling to a reservoir for a walk around five miles from their homes have had their fines rescinded.

Derbyshire Police said it had apologised to Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore after previously describing their trip as "clearly not in the spirit of the national effort" to reduce travel and the possible spread of coronavirus.

The women said they accepted the force's apology - adding that they are pleased to draw a line under the event.

Jessica Allen, from Leicestershire, had branded the police's actions as "bonkers" after she was told her hot drink she had brought with her was not allowed as it was "classed as a picnic".

Earlier today, Jessica and her friend Eliza joined Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby to explain their disappointment at the police’s heavy handedness. 

Eliza said: “The reservoir that we visited was about five miles from home. It was about a ten minute drive… We’d planned to go for a walk last Wednesday anyway, that’s something that we were going to do and we’d learnt from social media that the place where we live, we live in a busy market town, it was really busy with walkers, as it has been throughout this pandemic during the lockdown. And so we decided it would be safer for us to head out somewhere which was more of an open space and it would keep us safeer, and it would be safer for everyone else as well.”

Jessica added: “There are a lot of quotes of me saying, ‘When we arrived we thought something serious like a murder had happened or somebody had gone missing.’ It’s a place like Eliza said, we visit it regularly and we don’t usually see anybody apart from a few swans and a few ducks. So to see something like this, it was a shock.”

Following the news that Derbyshire Police would be withdrawing their fines, Jessica said in a statement: "This afternoon we both received a phone call from Derbyshire Police. After reviewing our case, our fines have been rescinded and we have received an apology on behalf of the constabulary for the treatment we received."

"We welcomed this apology and we are pleased to draw a line under this event."

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