Family posted luggage to Norfolk to avoid Covid travel fine, meeting hears

Liberal Democrat councillor Sarah Bütikofer. Picture: North Norfolk District Council

Liberal Democrat councillor Sarah Bütikofer. Picture: North Norfolk District Council - Credit: North Norfolk District Council

A councillor said she was "staggered" to find holidaymakers had posted luggage to north Norfolk to avoid being fined on their way out of a restricted area.

Sarah Butikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council (NNDC), told fellow councillors about the incident when asked if the authority was putting pressure on central government to prevent people travelling to the area.

The question was raised at an NNDC overview and scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, December 15, after London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex were placed into tier three restrictions from December 16.

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Burnham Market in North Norfolk is a popular second home location - Credit: Matthew Usher

Councillor Nigel Housden asked the meeting what, if anything, the council and neighbouring authorities were doing to pressure Westminster into preventing the movement of people from one county to another.

Mr Housden said he knew of people who cleaned holiday homes and who were currently refusing to clean certain properties because they knew people from Birmingham, Manchester and London were staying in them.

He said: "Until we can get some control for people to stay in a restricted radius of their main residence we have a significant problem."

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Concerns have been raised that people are travelling into Norfolk from areas with higher rates of coronavirus - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

In response, Mrs Butikofer said the local authority had raised concerns about people travelling to the county from areas with high rates of coronavirus to central government "again and again".

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She said: "If people are moving from one area to another they will be bringing, or could potentially bring, [coronavirus] with them.

"We will continue to lobby central government, we do ask central government regularly to put boundaries in place but the problem is then how do you police it because unless you have got patrols on every road people will find a way through.

"During the very early days of the pandemic I was absolutely staggered to find one family from Leicester had posted their luggage to Norfolk because if they got stopped on their way out of Leicester with luggage in their car they would have been fined, so they sent it ahead of them so they could come on holiday.

"If people are prepared to go to those lengths then there is very little we can do to prevent that."