Men fined for River Swale fishing and camping trip

The River Swale at Catterick Bridge. Photo: Andy Waddington/

Four men have been given fines for breaching covid-19 regulations after police found them fishing and camping on the banks of the River Swale.

The men, all from the Houghton-le-Spring area of County Durham, had set up camp near Catterick Bridge at the weekend.

They were told to pack up and leave, and sent home with fixed penalty notices for £200.

The incident comes as police in Richmondshire say they have seen an increase in visitors to the area in recent days, despite the country still being in lockdown.

Sergeant Sharon Findlay, from Richmondshire neighbourhood policing team, said officers stopped a number of motorcyclists in the district at the weekend.

She said a number had “excuses” for why they were allowed to travel, including some who had printed details of homes for sale they claimed they were going to view.

The officer added: “Yes there has been a reduction in covid cases but we are still in lockdown and we are looking out for those who insist on breaking the rules.”

North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan told councillors this week that the force was preparing for a surge of visitors to the county when lockdown restrictions are eased.

Mrs Mulligan told a meeting of the county’s Police, Fire and Crime Panel while the force had issued some 830 fixed penalty notices to those breaching rules between January 6 and February 14, senior officers were now focusing on efforts to manage the post-lockdown reaction.

She said the vast majority of people breaking rules from outside the county had travelled to Scarborough and Craven – much of which is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park – from West Yorkshire, residents of which had been handed 141 fixed penalty notices.