Family travel five hours from Sussex to Wales - only to be turned away by police

Ellen Manning
·2-min read
Welcome to Wales sign
A travel ban is in place to stop people entering Wales from coronavirus hotspots in the UK. (Getty)

A family who travelled for more than five hours to Wales from Sussex were turned away by police because their journey was “non-essential”.

Police said the family were stopped on the A40 at Whitland in Carmarthenshire in the early hours of Friday (October 23).

Despite the lengthy journey, they were “escorted out of the county”, said police.

Wales is currently in a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Under the lockdown, which started at 6pm on Friday and is set to end on November 9, people have been asked to stay at home and leave only for a limited number of reasons, including exercise, buying essential supplies, or to seek or provide care.

A travel ban is in place stopping people from entering Wales from coronavirus hotspots, and the government has also advised that people should only travel if their journey is essential.

In a tweet, Carmarthenshire Police said the family had travelled for “over five hours” from Sussex for a “non-essential reason”.

They added: “The occupants were suitably advised and escorted out of county. #longdrivehome #firebreaklockdown.”

Watch: Mark Drakeford to ‘review rules’ on essential items

As part of the firebreak lockdown, non-essential retail was also ordered to close and supermarkets were told they could only sell “essential” items.

But the latter sparked a widespread backlash, with critics questioning why it was possible to buy alcohol but not purchase things like baby clothes and sparking a petition that has been signed by around 60,000 people.

On Sunday, First Minister Mark Drakeford said supermarkets would be able to exercise “discretion” over the ban.

Drakeford said people may need to buy such products “for entirely unexpected reasons which they couldn’t have foreseen” during the 17-day period.

He told ITV Wales News: “I won’t need – I don’t think – to buy clothing over this two weeks and I think many, many people in Wales will be in that position too.

“For me, it won’t be essential. But I recognise that there will be some people who for entirely unexpected reasons which they couldn’t have foreseen will need to buy items.

“In those circumstances where those welfare reasons are at stake, we will make sure that our supermarkets understand they have the discretion to apply the rules differently.”

Watch: Can you catch coronavirus twice?

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