POLICE are urging people not to drive to the region’s popular beauty spots to exercise.

Under new laws brought in last week officers now have the power to issue fines to people who are out making unnecessary journeys.

As the country enters the second week of lockdown to deal with the global coronavirus pandemic, people are being urged to stay at home and to avoid the more picturesque parts of the North-East.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said: “Daily exercise should not include travelling to a different area than that in which you live.

“Travel should be for essential purposes, for example, collecting essential medicines, supplies or travelling to a place of work, if you are unable to work from home.

“This should only be with people from within the same household.

The Northern Echo: Car parks have been closed to deter people from flouting the essential travel only rulesCar parks have been closed to deter people from flouting the essential travel only rules

“We respectfully request that you do not drive to the rural areas, such as Allensford, Waskerley Station, any of the reservoirs or Edmundbyers.

“You should not be driving to our lovely areas to exercise or walk your dog.

“This should be done near your home address.”

The force said the measures were in place to slow the further spread of Covid-19, which has so far claimed over 1,400 lives in the UK.

The spokesman said: “This is not forever and we all need to adhere to this to save lives.

On Teesside, many car parks have been closed to deter visitors from flouting the rules.

Parks in Middlesbrough have been closed by Mayor Andy Preston and parking is no longer allowed on the seafronts at Redcar and Saltburn.

Redcar and Cleveland Council has closed car parks at Guisborough Forest and Walkway, Flatts Lane Country Park, Errington Woods, Foxrush Farm, as well as Newton Under Roseberry and Cowbar, with barriers being put in place.

Hartlepool Borough Council has closed its three beachfront car parks at Seaton Carew.

Tony Hanson, the council’s assistant director, said: “If you go outside to exercise, your activity must start and finish at your home, and if Seaton Carew beach is within close walking distance, you can use the beach as part of that, provided you use it sensibly and adhere to the social distancing rules.

“Unfortunately, numbers of people have been driving to the beach in breach of the national instructions not to make unnecessary journeys.”

North Yorkshire police has made a similar plea after warmer weather last week saw people flocking to favourite walking and cycling spots in the Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors.

Northumbria Police has said people who continue to do this are putting lives at risk,

Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton said: “Your daily exercise may be the only time for you to get out the house and we appreciate how important this time can be. It is sad to see our beauty spots deserted but it is necessary and I can’t thank you all enough for staying at home and doing your part to save lives. I would ask that you continue to support us and all the other emergency services during these challenging times.”