Dozens of high visibility road signs have been installed across key routes in North Yorkshire in the latest move to stop unwelcome visitors descending on the county’s beauty spots during the national lockdown. 

As the first weekend of May approaches, North Yorkshire is bracing itself for another wave of those flouting the Covid-19 rules, which are designed to prevent the virus spreading and to save lives.

Some people drive for many hours to walk and socialise in the county. This week, North Yorkshire Police confirmed nearly 500 fines had been issued to people – more than half (269) were visitors from outside the county. This includes 149 from West Yorkshire, 30 from Cleveland, 10 from London and the rest were from South Yorkshire, Kent, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Lancashire and County Durham.

Chair of the multi-agency North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, Richard Flinton, said:

“Essential journeys do not include the sort of examples we continue to see. If you come here under those circumstances, you are putting lives at risk and you may well also pay the price with a fine. These escalate in penalty for repeat offenders.

It’s incredibly disappointing that, while we are facing the fight of our lives with massive humanitarian and financial challenges due to the pandemic – we are having to spend time and money driving home this message to the small number of people showing no common sense or thought.”    

North Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Mike Walker said:

“While most people have done the right thing by staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives, a small minority continue to defy the rules or look for loopholes.

To be clear – there is no excuse for travelling the sort of distances we are seeing and we will continue to issue fines to those who persist.

These signs on North Yorkshire’s key routes, along with our regular police patrols in all parts of the county, ensure there’s no mistaking the very clear message – you must not travel unless your journey is essential.”

The signs alternate with the message COVID-19 Is your journey essential? And COVID-19 Essential journeys only.

The signs are placed throughout the county including:

A629 Cross Hills to Skipton
A65 West Yorks to Skipton
A170 Sutton Bank/Helmsley to moors/coast
A171 Guisborough to Whitby
A59 into Skipton at Broughton
A172 Cleveland border to Whitby

Courtesy of Yorkshire Coast Radio