Public thanked for keeping off roads and away from Dales beauty spots

Police and national park officials at Aysgarth Falls car park. Photo: Glen Minikin.

Police and national park bosses have thanked the public for abiding by the restrictions on travelling put in place due to the coronavirus crisis — and have urged them to maintain this behaviour.

Checkpoints have been operating across Richmondshire over the weekend in a bid to deter people from making unnecessary journeys, especially those travelling from outside the district to go into the Yorkshire Dales.

As well as working with the Royal Military Police, local officers liaised with national park officials to monitor beauty spots and prevent access to car parks.

Inspector Mark Gee, from Richmondshire neighbourhood policing team, said they had seen a “dramatic drop” in vehicle movements compared to recent weekends.

“People are heeding the advice that exercise is to be done from home on foot or cycle and we are grateful to the public for this.

“The message is also getting through to people not to come into the district for leisure reasons.

“This will reassure local residents who are understandably worried about people bringing the virus in and impeding local NHS services.

“We now need to make sure this behaviour is maintained and will continue with the checks and engagement to ensure this happens.”

David Butterworth, the National Park Authority’s Chief Executive said: “This weekend saw a dramatic change in behaviour with the Park being very quiet.

It was clear that Government advice was being followed – with people staying home and avoiding all unnecessary travel – and we’re very grateful for that, thank you”.

“I’m particularly grateful for the work of the police led by Inspectors, Mark Gee and Lorraine Crossman-Smith. They were a very visible and effective presence, alongside our ranger service throughout the national park and that was appreciated by the local communities.
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“Just as important was the opportunity to test our joint working and procedures, which will be even more important as the weeks go by.”

A motorist is stopped on Leyburn Road, Catterick Garrison. Photo: Photo: Glen Minikin.

Insp Gee thanked soldiers from the Royal Military Police for their help with the vehicle checks.

He also thanked the work of the Garrison Headquarters over the weekend after they erected a gazebo at Tesco at Catterick Garrison to provide shelter to shoppers and staff at the click and collect area.