POLICE are urging Cheshire residents to stay at home and stick to lockdown rules after issuing more fines last weekend than in the whole of December.

Since the new restrictions came into force last week, the majority of people have been sticking to the rules to help protect the NHS and save lives.

But over the course of the weekend, 58 fixed penalty notices were handed out for blatant breaches of the rules, compared to 21 last month.

Assistant Chief Constable Jenny Sims said: “We have been living with some form of restrictions for around 10 months now and we have had to make incredible sacrifices in order to keep the ones we love safe.

“The majority of people living in Cheshire have been sticking to the rules in place and I would like to thank them for doing so.

“However, there is a minority who continue to blatantly and repeatedly flout the rules in place. This is not acceptable.

“Our officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage but when they are met with these persistent rule breakers who have no regard for the safety of others, we must do what we can to protect the NHS and save lives.”

People should stay at home unless it is for a valid reason, such as shopping for necessities, exercise, to work if you cannot do so from home or to escape risk of harm.

People can leave their homes to exercise outside alone, with members of the same household, their social bubble or childcare bubble for children under the age of 13.

Residents can also meet with one other person from outside of their bubble for exercise in a public outdoor space.

Ass Chf Con Sims added: “With the new variant of the virus it is now more important than ever that we follow the restrictions in place and do all we can to stop the spread.

“The guidance is clear about staying at home. In Cheshire, we are lucky to have a great amount of green spaces and beauty spots but if we are exercising, we must do our best to keep it local.

“Officers will do their job in keeping you safe and, in turn, we need you to follow the rules and stick to the guidance, which is in place to help protect you – and others.”

There are other exceptions to the rules which can be found on the Government website, along with further advice and guidance.

To report a coronavirus breach visit Cheshire Police's website.