Staffordshire’s leading rural police officer has issued a desperate plea urging families to stay away from the county’s beauty spots over the long Easter weekend.
Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, commander of the Staffordshire Moorlands, recorded a video message from the Roaches pleading with people to stay away from the popular North Staffordshire attraction as well as Cannock Chase.
It comes after the Moorlands policing team have complained about motorists from as far as Norwich have been spotted out in Staffordshire since the coronavirus lockdown came into force.
And moments before recording his message to residents, Chief Insp Thorley spoke to a motorist from Burton who have travelled up to Leek to spend some time in the Moorlands countryside.
Addressing the camera, the leading officer said: “The weather is picking up and I’m sure the temptation will be to come and have a day out somewhere like the Roaches or Cannock Chase. However these are not normal times.
“But I can say in general, the vast majority of the population, certainly in the Moorlands and I suspect Staffordshire, are doing the right thing, and staying at home, minimising the amount of time they spend away home and they’re taking their exercise or shopping or travelling from work.
“However within seconds of me being here [in the Roaches] just I bumped into a chap who travelled all the way from Burton to get here. That’s wrong, that’s too far. You need to take your exercise close to home.
“So please, I get how difficult it is. This will not last forever and when all this is finished, you can meet me or my team up here and shake our hand with a clear conscience to knowing you did all you could to prevent the spread of this awful disease.”
Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director has also this morning issued a plea for people to follow the social distancing measures this week to help the health service’s fight against Covid-19.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Powis said: “I think it is really critical this weekend that we keep obeying those instructions.
“We are beginning to see the benefits of this social distancing. We do believe the virus is spreading less.