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PSNI and Garda to ensure coronavirus restrictions on travel are adhered to over bank holidays

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Checkpoint: Police talk to motorists during the lockdown in Northern Ireland

Checkpoint: Police talk to motorists during the lockdown in Northern Ireland

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Checkpoint: Police talk to motorists during the lockdown in Northern Ireland

A senior PSNI chief has said his officers will be operating border checkpoints to ensure that travel restrictions are adhered to over the upcoming bank holiday weekends.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said yesterday the PSNI has been working with the Garda to "co-ordinate our operational activity over both bank holiday weekends".

The May Day bank holiday will take place in the Irish Republic this weekend, while the holiday will be marked in Northern Ireland on May 8, to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

The PSNI chief said that while he understood the holiday would traditionally mean people visiting family or going to beauty spots, lockdown rules must be continued to be adhered to.

"We have to remember, as has been said time and time again, that this is a health crisis not a holiday," he stressed.

He urged people to stay at home, and not to travel over the border, warning officers will be out across Northern Ireland to stop drivers.

"We will continue to conduct patrols and checkpoints and you will see police patrols and checkpoints across Northern Ireland, for example at beauty spots, on roads going to key resorts and in border areas," he explained.

"If you don't have a reasonable explanation for your travel, we will turn you back."

ACC Todd said officers will take action against those who persist in breaking restrictions.

He revealed that to date, a total of 374 fines and 615 Community Resolution Notices have been issued by officers.

Mr Todd continued: "We will continue to engage with people and explain what we need them to do and encourage them to follow the restrictions that are in place.

"For the small numbers continuing to ignore the restrictions, it is inevitable we will have to move to enforcement through penalty notices, but I would stress this is always a last resort."

Belfast Telegraph