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First coronavirus fines handed out by police in Wiltshire

First coronavirus fines handed out by police in Wiltshire

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 2:25pm 5th April 2020.

4 minute read

The force has also revealed that 40% of the calls they got from Salisbury yesterday were Covid-19 related.

The fixed penalty notices were given to four men from the Swindon area for 'failing to comply with the Coronavirus Act, which states you must only leave your house for essential travel'.

The group of men - aged 29, 35, 37 and 38 - were stopped by officers following reports that a car had been seen travelling near Marlborough firing an air rifle from the window.

Officers stopped an Audi A4 and found an air rifle in the boot and cannabis in the vehicle, which was all seized.

The men were also arrested on suspicion of having an air weapon in a public place and possession of a Class B drug.

They've since been released under investigation.

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: 

"Here in Wiltshire, officers are very much focusing on engagement and encouragement - enforcement is always our last option and on this occasion, officers did the right thing by issuing Fixed Penalty Notices. This was clearly an incident where enforcement was needed and I fully support their decision.

"These are the first FPNs we have issued in the county under the new legislation but I fear they will not be the last, as over the weekend I have been disappointed to hear of a number of significant incidents in our county and I am aware of a dramatic increase in Covid-19-related calls to our Crime and Communication Centre."

COVID-19 RELATED CALLS INCREASE

Wiltshire Police has told us that calls and online reports with coronavirus related concerns have DOUBLED since Friday (3rd April).

In the Salisbury area, calls to 101 and 999 related to Covid-19 have risen by 40%.

Wiltshire's Chief Constable Pritchard said:

"We have seen an increase in people being outside and in public areas over this weekend. On Friday, we released a new information poster online and these posters have been put up out in the community, in particular, popular beauty spots. The aim of the poster is to urge people to follow the restrictions of self-isolating in order to avoid the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. However, it is really disappointing to hear that over the weekend in some locations these signs have been pulled down." 

"Over the coming days and weeks, there is likely to be all sorts of temptation - Easter weekend is looming and the weather is set to remain warm. I know that many people will be feeling fatigued and some may become complacent and consider the risks worth taking. We all must take responsibility for our actions - please stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS and save lives. 

"These are clearly very unsettling and worrying times for everybody - I want to reassure you that officers will continue to take a common sense approach and they will always engage with people to understand individual circumstances - however, enforcement will be used where it is necessary."

Wiltshire Police coronavirus poster April 2020
Posters have been put up around Wiltshire by police

There's more advice and information on how the force is dealing with the Covid-19 crisis can be found on the Wiltshire Police website

We're also reminded that if we want to get in touch with officers at this time, we can still call 101, or 999 if it's an emergency.

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