CAMPERS have been told to pay £100 after being caught stopping overnight in Cumbria on lay-bys, car parks and on the fells.

A multi-agency operation on Wednesday saw 16 groups of campers issued with fixed penalty notices.

The Lake District has seen a significant increase in complaints from communities about camping since the relaxation of the lockdown began to permit people in England to travel away from their home for exercise and recreation.

The law does not allow overnight stays away from home but many people have ignored the legislation over the last fortnight to travel to Cumbria from all over the country to camp in motorhomes, camper vans, cars and tents.

The Bank Holiday weekend saw campers take to beauty spots in the Lakes despite overnight stays away from home being prohibited under the coronavirus legislation.

Campers have been using laybys, car parks and open ground not only to camp in, but as their toilet too.

Some have been lighting camp fires and cutting branches and trees for fuel. This has led to Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service being called to numerous fires in the open air.

Police officers, firefighters and council officers took part in Wednesday’s operation.

Superintendent Sarah Jackson of Cumbria Police said: “This operation has become necessary due to the significant influx of people using beauty spots, car parks and laybys in the Lake District as unofficial campsites.

“This is clearly in breach of the coronavirus legislation and has had the additional impact of creating environmental damage and the risk of wildfires.

“The Lake District is a fabulous place to visit and as soon as the facilities are safe, ready and open, we will join with our partners and local businesses to welcome the tourist population to holiday here.

“In the meantime, I’d like to appeal to people to respect the law and to refrain from overnight camping in the Lakes. This multi-agency operation is continuing, and those found to be breaching the regulations may receive a fixed penalty of £100


Richard Gibson, station manager from Cumbria Fire & Rescue Service said: “As a result of the number of fires in the open air we have had reported to us over the past couple of weeks, we have been working with our partner agencies to provide fire safety advice to day trippers and campers.

“We are seeking to protect our local communities and natural habitats from the dangers of wildfires and the environmental damage they cause.”