Posted: 16.02.21 at 11:26 by Philippa Davies
Five keen birdwatchers who travelled to Exmouth after sightings of a rare species there have each been fined £200 for breaching Covid rules on travel.
A local resident posted photos of the northern mockingbird on the Facebook page of the Rare Bird Network on February 6. The last recorded sighting in the UK is thought to have been in the 1980s.
He did not suggest in his post that anyone should travel to the area, but some birdwatchers apparently did so in the hope of spotting the northern mockingbird and getting their own pictures.
However, they themselves were spotted by someone who reported them to the police.
A police spokesperson said: “We were contacted at around 8.20am on Saturday 13 February with reports of a potential Covid regulations breach in an area of Exmouth.
“It was reported that a number of individuals, suspected to have travelled from outside the area, were trying to photograph a rare bird which had been seen in a garden.
“Officers attended and fines were issued to five people for breaches of Covid regulations.”
Police are not giving details of where the visiting birdwatchers had travelled from.
But the current regulations say people should avoid travelling outside the village, town or the part of a city where they live, unless it is an essential journey.