As the weekend approaches, West Mercia Chief Superintendent Tom Harding, has issued the following message to communities:

“We are continuing to focus on working with our communities, engaging, explaining and encouraging the public to stay at home and we are largely encouraged by the response.

"We must all play our part in helping to minimise the spread of the virus, take pressure off the NHS and ultimately save lives.

“However, we have seen a number of people using their vehicles to travel to open spaces to exercise. Whilst we appreciate the importance of exercise and the impact this has on your mental and physical health during this difficult time, our stance really must be that wherever possible please try to walk, cycle or run from your own home rather than travelling.

“Many people are inadvertently creating crowds by driving to popular locations to go and exercise therefore not achieving the necessary social distancing.

“We understand that it may be tempting to drive out to somewhere beautiful but if it’s busy, be responsible, turn around and leave; and really it is better to stay at home in the first place.

“Please don’t be surprised in the current circumstances for officers to ask some motorists whether they have a valid reason for being outdoors. We will only take enforcement action if it is necessary and proportionate.

“Similarly officers will be in our communities on foot providing visible reassurance and engaging with the public and we always appreciate a smile and a chat, although now observing social distancing.

“We may ask questions to establish individual circumstances as to why people are out and we will request that people go home if they do not have a good reason to be outdoors. We will be dispersing any gatherings of more than two people.

“These are unusual and exceptional circumstances, and we appreciate this is a step away from the normal freedoms we are all used to. But we must all play our part at keeping our communities safe, particularly the most vulnerable and those most at risk.

“Please work with us #StayHomeSaveLives.”