No escape! Police in Wales set up checkpoints to quiz motorists in essential trips crackdown – as forces in England vow to turn around drivers without a good excuse for crossing the border
- Road blocks set up by Welsh police across the country to check for rule breakers
- Meanwhile forces in border counties in England say they’ll check drivers leaving
- Comes after 17-day ‘fire-breaker’ lockdown imposed in Wales on Friday
- It demands people not leave homes except for exercise and essential items
Police in Wales have set up checkpoints to quiz motorists over whether they are making essential journeys, while forces in England have vowed to turn drivers around who don’t have a good reason for crossing the border.
Wales imposed a strict 17-day ‘fire-breaker’ lockdown on Friday which bars people from leaving their homes except for exercise, buying essential supplies or providing care.
Despite differing rules in England under the three-tiered system, zealous police forces in the border counties of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Shropshire have promised to set up their own stops to question drivers leaving the Principality.
But the vast network of roads across the 160-mile frontier makes enforcement almost impossible and traffic was pictured flowing freely over the border at Chepstow on Sunday.
Police in Carmarthenshire, Wales, carry out spot checks on drivers after the ‘fire-breaker’ lockdown was brought in
Traffic flowing freely over the border at Chepstow on Sunday despite the draconian travel ban
An unmarked police car in Powys, Wales, keeps an eye on the road to check for essential travel
This week police revealed extraordinary plans to patrol the line in order to stop families from crossing over for a half-term holiday.
Officers said they would try to stop caravans sneaking into England from Wales and deter Welsh motorists defying First Minister Mark Drakeford’s ‘power-mad’ orders from making ‘non-essential’ journeys.
Gloucestershire Police announced an operation covering routes from Wales into the Forest of Dean where officers would stop motorists travelling into England to find out what they were doing.
Drivers would be encouraged to turn around and head back to Wales if officers ‘are not satisfied with their explanation’, a spokesman said.
If they refuse, police will tell forces in Wales so they can issue fines.
People caught breaking the rules in Wales can be fined up to £10,000, with penalties starting at £60.
However, drivers have been seen since Friday crossing the border on the A494 at Queensferry and on the A5445 between Chester and Wrexham in a breach of the new restrictions.
A caravan entering Wales at Chepstow on Sunday afternoon despite strict rules on essential travel
Officers in Carmarthenshire have a road block set up for drivers entering the town
A spokesman for Gloucestershire Constabulary said: ‘While we cannot issue fines to those travelling from Wales into the county we can inform the host force of those we stop about what has happened so they can take action.
‘Officers will be running an operation from tomorrow and over the weekend that will cover routes from Wales into the Forest of Dean and if we stop someone travelling from Wales we will be engaging with them to find out why, explaining the legislation and encouraging them to turn around if we are not satisfied with their explanation.
‘If they don’t then turn around we will then inform the force that polices the area they have travelled from so that they can issue a fine.
‘It is important to stress that the vast majority of people are abiding by the rules but in line with our policing approach, we will take action where there are flagrant breaches.’
First Minister Mark Drakeford speaking at a press conference in Cardiff ahead of Wales entering a two-week “firebreak” lockdown at 6pm on Friday
Non-essential or essential? What we know about what goods are banned in Wales’ lockdown firebreak
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that non-essential items should not be sold during the country’s firebreak lockdown.
So far the Welsh government has not published a public list of what these goods include.
The supermarkets have also not responded on whether they have been given specific instructions on what they cannot sell.
But it appears these items cannot be sold during the 17 days of restrictions:
- Other kitchen goods such as microwaves and toasted sandwich makers
- Phone chargers
- Electrical products
- Scented candles
- Children’s toys
- Towels and cushions
- Wrapping paper