Derbyshire Police CANCEL £200 fines handed to two women who drove seven miles for a walk near a local reservoir after backlash against overzealous interpretation of lockdown laws
- Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore were each fined £200 for driving 10mins for a walk
- Following backlash, the two friends, 27, have had their fines cancelled by police
- Derbyshire Police were accused of overzealous interpretation of lockdown laws
Two women who were fined £200 for driving seven miles to go for a walk in the park say they’ve had their fines cancelled following backlash against overzealous interpretation of lockdown laws by police.
Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, both 27, were slapped with £200 penalties for travelling the ten minute journey to Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire on Wednesday.
The pair told how they were approached by several officers before being ‘read their rights’ and told the cups of tea they were carrying counted as a picnic.
Friends Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, pictured, both 27, who were each fined £200 by police for driving 10mins for a walk in a local reservoir say they’ve had their fines cancelled following backlash
Derbyshire Police originally defended the decision to fine the women for breaching Covid rules and said driving for exercise was ‘not in the spirit’ of lockdown.
But today, Jessica revealed they had received separate calls from the force who apologised to them both and informed them their fines will be scrapped.
Beautician Jessica, of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, said: ‘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‘After reviewing our case, our fines have been rescinded and we have received an apology on behalf of the constabulary for the treatment we received.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.’
The embarrassing u-turn comes days after Jessica described how she was left badly shaken by the ordeal which left her ‘feeling like a criminal’.
The pair (Ms Allen, left; and Ms Moore, right) told how they were approached by several officers before being ‘read their rights’ and were also told the cups of Starbucks peppermint tea they were carrying counted as a picnic
She said she and Eliza believed they were following the guidelines of staying local to exercise as they only live ten minutes away.
Jessica told how they were surrounded by police when they arrived in separate vehicles at the beauty spot and ‘assumed there had been a murder’.
She said previously: ‘As we drove in there was a police van, a police car, and there were loads of police there – we thought there must have been a murder or something.
‘I genuinely thought something major had happened as the place is normally so quiet.
‘The next thing, my car is surrounded by police and they start questioning us as soon as we both set foot outside.
‘One of them started reading my rights and I was looking at my friend thinking ‘This must be a joke’.
Derbyshire Police originally defended the decision to fine the women for breaching Covid rules and said driving for exercise was ‘not in the spirit’ of lockdown (Pictured is Ms Allen, left; and Ms Moore, right)
‘They started saying ‘you have the right to remain silent’ and all that – so we thought we were being arrested.
‘They talked to us like we weren’t even human – they just kept saying ‘you have broken Covid laws’.
‘I said I was really sorry and I didn’t know what I was doing was wrong, I tried to explain but they weren’t having any of it.
‘I pointed out that we came in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us.
‘He said ‘You can’t do that as it’s classed as a picnic’. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
‘I was so shook up afterwards. The fact they read my rights. I thought ‘Am I going to prison for going on a walk?’
However, beautician Jessica Allen, of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, revealed they had received separate calls from the force who apologised to them both and informed them their fines will be cancelled (This map shows the proximity between her house and the reservoir)
‘With my business being closed going for a walk is the only time I get out of the house really to do some exercise.
‘It can be busy just walking around my local area so decided to go drive to the reservoir because I knew it would be less crowded.
‘We went in separate cars as well as we thought that was more sensible – but the police thought apparently not.
‘If anything I thought I was being more responsible and I thought I was staying local as the guidance suggests.
‘I’ve had a lot of people who also suffer from anxiety reach out and say this would have tipped them over the edge.
‘So if it helps them I know I’ve done some good. But more than anything I just want the guidance to be clearer.
‘All I was doing was going for a walk. I take my dog up there and some days you are lucky to pass one other person.
The embarrassing u-turn comes days after Jessica (left) described how she was left badly shaken by the ordeal which left her ‘feeling like a criminal’ and Eliza (right), who works as cabin crew for British Airways and runs a make-up business, said she was left ‘stunned’ by the fine
‘We weren’t breaking the rules deliberately.’
Eliza, who works as cabin crew for British Airways and runs a make-up business, said she was left ‘stunned’ by the fine.
She said: ‘Just seeing a police officer anyway is quite scary for some people and we were really not expecting to be approached and to be told we were doing something wrong.
‘We don’t want to get away with it if we have broken the rule, but it seems a bit unfair that you can be fined on something that’s so vague.’
Guidance for the current lockdown says people can travel for exercise as long as it is in their ‘local area’.
But the legislation does not specify a maximum distance that people are allowed to travel for exercise.
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa said over the weekend that an ‘urgent review’ was under way about how fines had been issued.
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