Police are reminding members of the public that they should not be driving to locations to exercise after significant numbers of people gathered at beauty spots around Devon and Cornwall at the weekend.

The risk of spreading coronavirus (Covid-19) was worsened because some people were ignoring advice that exercise should only be taken from residents’ front doors, the force said.

Popular locations where people gathered included Haldon Hill, near Exeter.

The rules from the government, which came into force on March 23, state you may only leave your home for four reasons:

• shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible

• one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household

• any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

• travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home

Chief Superintendent Sam De Reya said: “We have been quite clear in our advice that using your car to get to a preferred exercise location does not constitute an essential journey.

“Our role here is to reduce the spread of coronavirus, save lives and protect the NHS. Those in locations that are most likely to have been accessed by car are putting themselves and others at risk and can expect to be challenged robustly.

“For the most part the public have been incredibly supportive of the restrictions placed on them so far. We would like to thank all of those who are abiding by these very straightforward rules and remind them that they will need to be mindful of the rules for some time to come.”

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