Police fine 39 second-homers and day-trippers in resort crackdown
- Credit: Chris Bishop
Police fined almost 40 second home owners and day trippers and warned them to go home in a weekend of action on the west Norfolk coast.
The operation centred around Hunstanton over the weekend of February 20 - 21, after fears the mild weather would draw visitors to the town.
Along with the £200 fixed penalties, 20 formal warnings were also issued as temperatures rose, tempting people to try their luck and breach lockdown.
In a report to town councillors, Insp Diana Woodage said: "The results were very positive with 39 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued, 20 formal warnings and 17 further engagement events on Saturday and Sunday alone.
"The operation was a mix of mobile patrol of popular car parks and destinations, and oversight of a number of reports of the occupation of second homes.
"As a result, a number of second home owners and day trippers were given FPNs and required to leave.
"Every effort was made to update each reporting person, including when their information was incorrect but passed with the best of intentions, thereby advising where there were no breaches.
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"It can be tricky evidencing the second home breaches but every opportunity was taken to firmly enforce the rules where possible.
"The team received very good feedback from residents and locals they engaged with whilst on these patrols. I hope this goes some way to demonstrate my commitment to enforcing the rules and supporting the community."
The crackdown came after an appeal from Hunstanton mayor Tony Bishopp for people to stay local and postpone trips to the town. Mr Bishopp said he was disappointed by the numbers caught flouting the rules.
"This has been going on a long, long time and by now you'd think people would get the message if we stick it out a little longer there's a possibility we might return to normal.
"I'm pleased the police had a special unit out. I'm surprised at the number they caught but I'm glad they did."
Hunstanton borough councillor and former West Norfolk mayor Carol Bower said of the rule breakers: "It's a callous disregard for other people's lives. We have been adhering to the guidelines strictly and we rely on others to do the same."
Second home ownership is highest in neighbouring North Norfolk, where MP Duncan Baker said: "It has been an issue over the course of the entire pandemic. I have worked extremely hard with Norfolk police to ensure people follow the rules and the guidelines.
"The police recently have been very good at following up reports of people breaking the Covid regulations."
He added police had been knocking on doors in Blakeney, where 50pc of properties are second homes, to check people had not travelled to them in breach of regulations.