| Last updated
Police have decided to withdraw the £200 fines two women faced for taking a walk in a nearby beauty spot.
Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, both 27, were left stunned last week when Derbyshire Police handed them the hefty fines for walking at the Foremark Reservoir.
The pair, who each drove five miles separately to reach the secluded area, initially believed there had been a major incident as they reported a number of officers in the car park.
However, the police informed them they were in breach of strict lockdown rules, and said their socially distanced walk together was actually regarded as a 'picnic' because they were each holding a cup of Starbucks peppermint tea.
Now, Derbyshire Police's chief constable Rachel Swann has confirmed that the decision to fine the women has been reversed.
"I can confirm that a review into fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued by my officers last week has been completed," she said in a statement.
"Two fixed penalty notices that were handed to two women who had travelled to Foremark Reservoir on Thursday have been withdrawn and we have notified the women directly, apologising for any concern caused.
"I support the fact that the officers were trying to encourage people to stay local to prevent the spread of the virus.
"This is a responsibility for all of us.
"All of our FPNs issued in conjunction with the Covid guidance are subject to review.
"Having received clarification of the guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) on Friday, these FPNs as well as a small number of others issued, were reviewed in line with that latest advice, and so it is right that we have taken this action.
"We have been working hard to understand the ever-changing guidance and legislation and to communicate this to our officers in a way that makes it clear what is the right course of action to take."
She added that the lack of clarity in government guidelines left some of the rules up for interpretation.
"At present there is no clear limit as to how far people can travel to exercise, but Government guidance strongly requests people do not leave their local area," Chief constable Swann continued.
"We all have a responsibility to follow both the regulations and the guidance put in place to protect the NHS and save lives, and I would expect my officers to continue to take the four Es approach; to engage, explain, encourage, and enforce, to help us to keep them and their communities safe.
"It is important to note that the force has received complaints from residents living in some scenic parts of Derbyshire asking that we carry out activity to stop others travelling to the area because it becomes more crowded for local people.
"Our activity is aimed to address these concerns and to remind people to stay local.
"We will continue to show a visible presence in these areas and encourage people to comply with the guidance."
This particular case had received widespread media attention, with the two fined women appearing on This Morning to discuss the case.
Host Phillip Schofield was particularly damning about the fine, sarcastically telling viewers: "It's fantastic that Derbyshire Police have at least five police officers who have got time to stand in an empty car park, which is good."
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read