This time two years ago, we were all only beginning to get used to Covid-19, lockdown and the implications of the pandemic. When the Prime Minister told us all to stay at home on March 23, 2022, it ushered us all into a completely new and frightening world.
It also created a host of new rules that we had to adapt to and become accustomed to. New laws on everything from the weekly supermarket shop to going for a walk were introduced, with fines issued by police for rulebreakers.
And, on this week two years ago, Bristol Live published some stories that seem bizarre with hindsight. Take a look at some of the strange situations police had to respond to below.
Police tell driver ‘popping out for a spliff not an essential journey’
Police told a teenage driver that “popping out for a spliff is not an essential journey” after he was pulled over on April 13, 2020. Officers stopped a vehicle on the A371 in Weston-super-Mare just after midnight, and arrested the 18-year-old man on suspicion of driving while unfit through drink and drugs.
A tweet by the force’s roads policing team said “popping out for a spliff was clearly not an essential journey”.
Police at The Range tell shoppers plants are not essential
Police in a county near Bristol had to remind people that plant pots and paint were ‘not essential’, at a time when shoppers were only supposed to buy essential items. On April 7, 2020, Gloucester Police officers visited The Range at Gloucester Retail Park and to remind people that some items were not essential purchases.
But on Thursday, April 9, it appeared the message had still not got through and a number of people were stopped by PCSOs. Officers found people buying ‘non-essential’ items, including top soil, a sat-nav, an Easter egg, a scratch card, bamboo fencing, and stone chippings, Gloucestershire Live reported.
Officers called to police the queue for Asda in Longwell Green
On April 9, 2020, police were called to one of Bristol’s largest supermarkets to help police the queue after a dispute. Officers attended the Asda in Longwell Green at 8.50am because of concerns that a man was breaching social distancing rules.
A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset police said at the time: “We were called at 8.50am amid concern of a man breaching COVID-19 regulations. He was spoken to and given words of advice.”
Police clear people sunbathing and having picnics from Ashton Court
Police kicked out ‘about 70 people’ who were sunbathing or having picnics in Ashton Court on Saturday, April 11, 2020 amid the pandemic. Temperatures across the country peaked at 25.5C on that day, with some people taking advantage of the warm weather, despite government warnings for people to stay home in order to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
People fined for driving from Bristol and Weston-super-Mare to Wales
Fines were imposed on people travelling to west Wales from Bristol and Weston-super-Mare on this week two years ago. Dyfed Powys Police pulled over some 1,300 drivers heading to Wales in a crackdown on coronavirus lockdown breakers.
One driver, stopped on the A477 at Llanteg late one evening, was told going crab fishing on Tenby beach “isn’t essential travel”, Wales Online reported.