Phillip Schofield couldn’t help but have a dig at Derbyshire Police on This Morning after two women were fined £200 for going for a walk during lockdown.
Phillip and Holly Willoughby invited Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore on to Monday’s show after the friends were ‘surrounded by five police officers’ when they travelled five miles to go for a socially-distanced walk.
The duo were told by officers that their cups of peppermint tea from Starbucks were classed as a ‘picnic’, which is not allowed under current lockdown rules.
Both of them believed they were following the guidelines of staying local to exercise as they live around 10 minutes away in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire.
But they were stunned as they were ‘read their rights’ by police and slapped with a £200 fine for breaching lockdown rules.Appearing via video link on the ITV programme, Eliza told the hosts: ‘So the officers approached us as we parked.
‘We parked two spaces away from each other to ensure we really were complying with social distancing and the officers soon started walking towards our vehicles. We were in shock when it happened.’
Speaking about how many officers there were, Jessica explained: ‘Definitely five that came to speak, but I think there were more. When we first drove in there was a police van and there was a police car as well and the men and women stood around the vehicles, but five definitely came to our cars.
‘Straight away when they came over they started questioning as to why we were there, the initial question was were we friends and where were we from? We explained that we were two villages away from where we were and we’d come for a socially distanced walk, and explained that we were aware of the guidelines and we were allowed to travel to an open space.’‘The officers went on to tell us that we had gone too far out of our local area,’ Jessica added.
‘As Eliza said, we were a short drive of about five miles. When we realised that people had made comments on social media to say that even though we were in a lockdown the town seemed ridiculously busy today, we felt we were doing the safer option of complying to the rules by going to an open space.’
‘It’s fantastic really that Derbyshire Police have got five police officers that have the time to stand in an empty car park,’ Phillip chipped in. ‘Which is good.’
Former police officer Norman Brennan also appeared via video link where he defended Derbyshire Police for fining the Eliza and Jessica.
‘It’s not a point of having little sympathy,’ he said.
‘What we’ve got to realise is this coronavirus is actually killing people and it’s not killing five or 10 people, so far it’s just over 80,000 people are dead.
‘The police are caught in the middle of all of this. The police have been tasked to challenge people when people are travelling it’s got to be local.’
Phillip interrupted: ‘This is not in law, it’s guidelines. If this was written down, then we would have a better idea of what the rules are. I can go anywhere I want – there’s no law.’Derbyshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Kem Mehmet said the ‘actions of our officers is to save lives’.
He explained: ‘The actions of our officers continues to be to protect the public, the NHS and to help to save lives.
‘All fixed penalty notices during this relevant period that have been issued will be reviewed for compliance. All recipients will be contacted.’
The interview left This Morning viewers divided and many took to social media to share their thoughts.
One tweeted: ‘For the girls to comply with the rules n still get fined is absurd, I sure wouldn’t want to pay the £200. Also police officers standing in an empty car park when there are other crimes been committed ?? Hmm.’
Another said: ‘I appreciate that the police have a hard job to do at the moment, really don’t understand why these 2 ladies were fined for something very minimal.’
While one added: ‘We can’t even go for a walk now. The rules are so pathetic the police can’t fine you for meeting for a walk! Insanity!’
Other viewers were in support of the police and said they were right to fine both women.
‘Who do those girls think they are. Norman is right. They broke the guidelines, they need to accept that and move on. Police have said their fines are being reviewed because guidelines aren’t laws. But they DID go against guidelines,’ one viewer tweeted.
Another commented: ‘What if everyone decided to bend the rules a little and go somewhere quiet for a walk! Maybe folks exercising in busier places would have liked that option too! Selfish attitude and the police were absolutely right!’
One added: ‘Those ladies didn’t need to go that far, we all in the same boat, just imagine if we all did that. If they in financial difficulties then why use petrol and get coffees? Police are just doing their job!’
This Morning airs daily at 10am on ITV.
Credit: Original article published here.