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Locals in Devon have hit out at ‘selfish’ sun-seekers after so many travelled to the area that traffic wardens ran out of tickets.
Several routes into beaches in Devon were packed with traffic as people raced to the seaside on the hottest day of the year on Wednesday.
Police in Ilfracombe said roads were left “gridlocked” after vehicles travelled to the area from across the country, while on Wednesday afternoon Barnstaple officers said traffic wardens were running out of tickets because of the number of vehicles that had been abandoned.
Last month Michael Gove warned that people wouldn’t be able to visit seaside resorts “for some time to come” but keen beach-goers appeared to ignore his warning as they rushed to the coast following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
Roads towards the North Devon coast are now gridlocked. There are no amenities open or toilets. We have vehicles from all over the country identified, please do not travel here. We will still be here when this is over so come back when it’s safe to do so. @DC_Police @BarumPolice
— Ilfracombe & Braunton Police (@Ilfracombe_DCP) May 20, 2020
Traffic wardens are running out of tickets. Do not abandon your cars 😡 emergency vehicles can’t get though! They will be towed away! @TheVoiceNDevon @DevonLiveNews @BBCSpotlight @BBCTravelSW #Covid_19 https://t.co/0h7hBWGbVx
— Barnstaple Police (@BarumPolice) May 20, 2020
Barnstaple Police tweeted: "Traffic wardens are running out of tickets. Do not abandon your cars as emergency vehicles can’t get [through]. They will be towed away.
"The traffic heading to the North Devon beaches is exceptionally busy. The beach car parks are now closed for new traffic....please avoid the area."
Officers had warned visitors trying to access north Devon that there would be no toilets or amenities open near beaches and urged people to come back when it is safer, but many ignored their pleas and raced to the coast.
One officer tweeted: "Every double yellow line from Woolacombe to Morthoe is covered with cars and vans.
"Cars mounting pavements to get by whilst pedestrians try to cross the road. All the offences have been recorded and will be processed in due course."
Locals branded those who travelled to the area “selfish”, with one also hitting out at Boris Johnson for loosening lockdown restrictions.
Thank you @BorisJohnson and @GOVUK for throwing North Devon under a bus. This was 9.30am at Saunton (now closed). We have 8 ICU beds in North Devon and everyone is flocking here for their holiday.
(Vid-Tania Palmer).#northdevon #devon #covidiots #stayaway #dontbeadick pic.twitter.com/LIn2eVs334
— Charmain Lovett (@charmain1983) May 20, 2020
Sharing a video of a huge tailback on one road to the coast, Charmain Lovett tweeted: “Thank you @BorisJohnson and @GOVUK for throwing North Devon under a bus.
“We have 8 ICU beds in North Devon and everyone is flocking here for their holiday.”
The scenes came as a survey revealed that more than half of young adults are no longer sticking strictly to lockdown rules.
The University College London (UCL) study found that the number of people who said they acted with “complete” compliance with government safety measures, such as social distancing and staying at home, had dropped in the past two weeks from an average of 70% to under 60% — with less than 50% of younger adults “completely” complying with lockdown rules.
Beach crowds during lockdown concerning, warns Scottish minister
Scotland’s deputy first minister, John Swinney, has described scenes of crowded beaches during the coronavirus lockdown as “concerning”.
Police were called after large numbers of people gathered at Portobello beach in Edinburgh on Wednesday, asking them to return home but stopping short of issuing fines.
Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme on Thursday, Swinney said he did not think the situation was “in any way desirable”, adding: “The congestion of people illustrated the dangers that we face here.
“So many people, in such close proximity, doesn’t exactly illustrate following the guidance that has been set out.
“The scenes from Portobello beach yesterday are concerning, there have been weeks and weeks and weeks in which people have really played their part in trying to tackle COVID.”
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