Police give out £200 penalty notices to day-trippers for second weekend running
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Five minutes after leaving Hunstanton police station, PC Dave Allcock is already writing his first £200 fixed penalty ticket.
"Afternoon Sir," he says to the driver of a Honda hatchback moments earlier in the Cliff Top Car Park. "Can I ask where you've come from today?"
"Peterborough," the man replies, before a trip to the beach on a sunny afternoon with his partner and young children becomes a little more expensive than expected.
"You'd think people would have got the message by now," said PC Allcock as he gets back into his car. But they clearly haven't.
Twenty or so were warned to expect a ticket in the post before being told to go home by officers in and around Hunstanton on Saturday.
Business was just as brisk on Sunday, as police fanned out in vehicles to tour coastal car parks and beauty spots.
"Corby," volunteers a man in a nearby people carrier, when asked where he began his journey. As in Corby 75 miles away.
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The man admits he just thought he'd risk it, as PC Allcock points out the rules say stay local and fires up his tablet again.
Two parking attendants are also doling out tickets. One's on his 12th of the afternoon.
While they too can ascertain where a vehicle has come from, they can only issue fines for failing to pay and display.
"They come here thinking they don't have to pay, which they do," he said. "We advise them they're only supposed to travel a few miles for exercise. You can stay here if you wish but the police will fine you if they catch you."
Heacham's beaches have been busy, so the village is the next stop for PC Allcock.
"I'm sorry, I thought it would be OK coming here, says the driver of a VW Polo who also hails from Peterborough. "I'm not going to any shops or anything."
Another ticket is in the offing. But not everybody the officer speaks to is breaching lockdown.
"Thanks for all you're doing for us," say a couple in a sports car who've come from Hunstanton. As PC Allcock was dealing with the Polo driver, a man walking past applauded.
"The local people are really thankful, they've been giving us the thumbs-up," says PC Allcock. "It's nice from a policing point of view that it's appreciated, because we're doing it for them really."
It's next stop Castle Rising, where people parking down a leafy lane have brought complaints from villagers.
On the way, one of PC Allcock's colleagues is dealing with a group of visiting motorcyclists on the A149.
The lane is solid with cars. PC Allcock says: "We've been getting a lot of reports of people parking down here and local residents being fearful of coming out."
A couple are having a picnic with their children from the back of their 4x4 at the end of the lane. The driver is given words of advice and a formal warning when it transpires he has driven from Clenchwarton, some seven or eight miles away.
"We use our discretion with the distance," said PC Allcock. "He's been given a warning and it's been documented to show there's no excuse if he's spoken to again in relation to it or goes further afield.
"People are being attracted here because they're not allowed to go to the coast. We're issuing fines but people are trying it on, they're pushing their luck."
As we're leaving, the driver of a silver Transit van is struggling to squeeze past the row of parked cars. He complains he can barely get in and out of his drive.
"I'm the beat manager for here so I'll do my best," said PC Allcock. "You'll be seeing a bit more of me this week.
"We're busy, we're stretched but we're still here to do what we've got to do."
Last weekend Norfolk police issued 87 penalty notices and 98 warnings. Thirty-nine of the 87 fines were issued in Hunstanton. It remains to be seen whether that number will be beaten this weekend.