TEESSIDE’S patchwork quilt of council boundaries has left some people facing different lockdown rules just a stone’s throw away from one another.

“You’ve got to draw the line somewhere”. That was the thinking of one Nunthorpe dog walker around the corner from Gypsy Lane Railway Station.

They may be just lines on a map but from midnight on Friday they held greater significance.

Those paying their bills to Middlesbrough and Hartlepool councils will be breaking the law if they mix with other households, outside support bubbles, indoors.

But hundreds of Teessiders, a matter of yards from their neighbours, will be free to join their friends for a drink in a pub, - socially distanced and in groups of less than six - or to go for a meal.

Homes in Wynyard, Ormesby, Normanby, Park End, Thorntree and Nunthorpe face this geographical quirk – with many streets straddling the Hartlepool/Stockton border and the Middlesbrough/Redcar and Cleveland frontier.

Middlesbrough council says people who live in Middlesbrough should not visit other households inside or outside the town’s boundaries – unless an exemption applies.

If you live within Middlesbrough or Hartlepool council boundaries, you must not socialise indoors with other people you do not live with – whether you are inside or outside the council boundary.

But the rules and how they’ve been unveiled to the public can seem confusing – and that was the message picked up time and again in Wynyard, Normanby and Nunthorpe.

Wynyard has grown a lot in recent years with homes now up on the northern side of the A689.

The Stockton/Hartlepool border tears a line through Wynyard Woods – leaving cul-de-sacs of rather large detached homes paying different amounts of council tax to different authorities in the space of about 200 metres.

Lockdown has come to Saville Close but former Middlesbrough GP Raj Khapra can see beyond the border from his back garden.

Dr Khapra said: “If you walk around Wynyard in some way, you will be interacting with all these people at a two metre distance. Personally, I feel it’s stupid. If you want to have total lockdown, that’s understandable – otherwise it’s just total stupidity. It’s more politics than science.

“They should be looking at the older population and those with multiple health problems in care homes rather than locking everybody down.

“People are focussing on their own individual areas rather than the whole picture – politicians are looking at politics and personally, I think we all need to look at the wider picture. It makes a mockery of it.”

Over Dr Khapra’s garden fence, Andrew Watt is frustrated with the tangle of council boundaries in Wynyard.

He said: “For me, it makes a mockery of it all. You’ve got Stockton Council, Hartlepool Council, and multiple parish councils on the same estate. The best thing I think would be to move the boundary to the A689. If you talk to residents in Wynyard, quite a few don’t know which council area they live in.”

County Durham and Tyne and Wear have faced similar situations for the past fortnight – with the main road in School Aycliffe, near the A1, having different rules either side of its main road.

Further down Wynyard Woods is the border. There’s nothing to mark it – and the only indicator is a Stockton Council bin on the pavement a few yards after an open stretch of grassland.

Lynne Mitchell lives on the Stockton side of the estate. The 66-year-old said her husband was at high risk. She believed a wider lockdown was needed.

She said: “It’s all bitty with a bit of the North-East in lockdown and bits of Manchester – I know we have to keep the economy going but the whole thing is a mess.We’ve got half of Wynyard closed down and the other half not, I think it would be better if the whole place was in lockdown and we would know where we are, and hopefully coronavirus won’t be as bad. I don’t think anything will happen anyway until we get a vaccine – in the meantime, we have to abide by the law.”

William O’Brien has lived in Maynard Grove, on the Stockton side, for nine years.

He said: “It should have been the whole of Teesside, it seems to be part and parcel of the Government’s half hearted efforts.”

Darlington and villages bordering County Durham has seen similar situations over the past weeks.

Peter Gibson MP for Darlington said: "As far as I'm concerned and it will come as no surprise, we [Conservative MPs] all asked not to go into an additional lockdown. The figures for Middlesbrough and Hartlepool were such that it was necessary for the government to put them into additional measures. Accordingly we need to find a balance between preserving and protecting our economy and keeping the virus under control. As I've said, whilst Darlington continues to follow the rules and numbers remain at a lower rate that means it doesn't go into additional measures but if numbers are increasing then we need to take steps to ensure we're protecting people and controlling the virus, but at the same time we need to know how we're going to get out of that."