Coastal car park closes to 'deter visitors' as police hand out five FPNs

Horsey Gap car park closed

Horsey Gap car park is now closed due to the high number of out-of-county visitors travelling to the beauty spot - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A coastal car park at a Norfolk beauty spot has been closed in a bid to deter visitors from far-flung places, with five people fined in the last week for breaching lockdown regulations to see the seals.

Horsey beach is a major seasonal attraction due to large numbers of grey seals and their pups which populate the coastline from November-January.

But Norfolk Police, in conjunction with North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) and the car park's owner Robin Buxton, have decided to close the site and access road in an effort to keep visitors "local".

Police said, in the last week, five people from Hertfordshire, Northamptonshire and Essex received fixed penalty notices for travelling to Horsey Gap.

The seal colony between Winterton and Horsey Picture: James Bass

The seal colony between Winterton and Horsey draws in crowds in the thousands every year - Credit: James Bass © 2015

A spokesperson said: "Following discussions with local officers and the environmental health team at NNDC, Horsey Estate which operates the car park has agreed to close it."

Robin Buxton said he recognised we "all have a part to play in keeping people safe", and that he was happy to close the site to "deter people from visiting".

Toby Gosden, sergeant at the Local Safer Neighbourhood Team, said the move was necessary to protect the people of Norfolk. 

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“People are required to stay at home and only leave for a reasonable excuse under the current lockdown measures", he said, adding that this area has attracted "a number of visitors, including local residents and people who live outside the county".

"All parties reached the collective decision this was the right course of action to take to deter visitors and to protect the people of Norfolk.”

Police are hunting the driver of a stolen vehicle. Picture: James Bass

Police stepped up patrols in Norfolk's coastal areas at the weekend to help enforce lockdown regulations - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2014

A spokesperson from NNDC echoed this sentiment: “The council supports the joint decision to close the car park at Horsey Gap. Government guidance is that during this period of lockdown, travelling is strictly limited to essential purposes and all exercise should be taken within your locality.

"Following reports of visitors travelling from counties outside the district and with rates of Covid-19 rising in North Norfolk, the council supports the action to help keep residents safe.”

On Friday, police fined a man and woman in their 50s for travelling nearly 130 miles to see the seals at Horsey - with police stepping up patrols over the weekend to catch anyone travelling from afar to see the now 2000-strong seal colony

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