Police say they will hand out fines for people who refuse to follow rules about social gatherings and essential journeys.

Essex Police say people doing the right thing makes a big difference in the Covid battle.

It comes after the force shared examples of people who had been handed fines across the county.

This included a Grays householder was issued a fine for hosting a party, two men riding off-road bikes in Purfleet for making an unnecessary journey and a man from West Mersea who travelled to have a coffee with his girlfriend who lived in a different household.

Government advice says you must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary.

You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person (in which case you should stay 2m apart). Exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

The Government says if you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in your local area - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work.

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A spokesman for Essex Police said: "Covid-19 infection rates have been falling across the county and we’d like to thank people across Essex for following the government guidelines.

"However, the virus is still prevalent in our community so it’s essential that you continue to stick to the rules.

"The best way to control the spread of the virus, protect your loved ones and ease pressure on the NHS is to stay at home and avoid any unnecessary journeys.

"The vast majority of you are doing the right thing but, where clear and blatant breaches have taken place, our officers have responded to them.

"If you are thinking about organising a social gathering or making a non-essential journey, please reconsider, stay safe and stop the unnecessary spread of Covid-19.

"Our officers will continue to take a common sense approach to the government’s regulations. They will continue to engage with people, explain the regulations and encourage them to do the right thing."