February half-term visitors to Cornwall face fines, police commissioner warns

Claire Hayhurst, PA
·2-min read

Health Secretary Matt Hancock will be welcome in Cornwall when lockdown eases but half-term visitors face fines, the area’s police and crime commissioner has said.

Alison Hernandez, the police and crime commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, warned those tempted to visit the area during February half-term will be given fixed penalty notices.

She backed plans by Devon and Cornwall Police to crack down on those who visit the counties from other parts of the country and stay overnight.

But Ms Hernandez said she hoped that by the summer, visitors including Mr Hancock would be able to visit Devon and Cornwall.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is planning a holiday in Cornwall (Hannah McKay/PA)
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is planning a holiday in Cornwall (Hannah McKay/PA)

“Our economy thrives off having more domestic visitors than any other force area in the country, and for centuries we have given them a warm welcome,” she said.

“Regrettably for the February half term we are repeating the #ComeBackLater message that we issued early last year.

“We know most have listened and will stay away but some people have caused distress by arriving in small communities and there will be more breaches of the rules in the next few days.

Watch: Hancock says people are ‘not confused over summer holidays’

“When that happens I fully back the police in their enforcement activity.”

She said the tourism industry was looking forward to welcoming back visitors.

“I note that the Health Secretary has booked a holiday in Cornwall this summer and sincerely hope that we will be able to give him, his family, and thousands more visitors a warm, Westcountry welcome,” Ms Hernandez added.

General View of the Harbour at St Ives, Cornwall (David Davies/PA)
General View of the Harbour at St Ives, Cornwall (David Davies/PA)

She has booked a trip to Butlin’s in Minehead, Somerset in August and hopes that restrictions by that stage will have been eased to allow it to go ahead.

Overnight stays are banned under current lockdown rules but officers have received numerous complaints of breaches in recent weeks.

Devon and Cornwall Police has created a fleet of so-called “Covid cars” to quickly respond to reports of visits to second homes or holiday accommodation, Ms Hernandez said.

Those breaking the rules can be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.