DORSET Police recorded more than 470 Covid-related incidents last week, a rise in 16 per cent from the previous period.

Since November 2020, the force has been operating dedicated patrols across Dorset to reassure communities and maintain public safety during the pandemic.

Operation Tattoo sees a dedicated Covid-19 car operating across the force, seven days a week to deal with any Covid-related issues, provide support to partners and encourage the public to abide by the restrictions.

The units have a specific remit to deal with calls to encourage, educate and engage with the public – with enforcement action taken when appropriate if Covid-19 restriction breaches take place.

And 476 Covid-19 related incidents were recorded in the space of a week.

When stopping people for unnecessary travel breaches, one person told officers they travelled to Dorset because the sea air is better for them.

Someone told officers they moved to their second home in Dorset because the internet is better, and a group of men met up in north Dorset to go fishing because “they were bored” and though it was ok because they worked together.

Operation Tattoo has been funded by the Government’s Covid-19 surge fund and is scheduled to continue until March 2021.

The officers work closely with local authorities to support reports of businesses or licensed premises breaching legislation, and also working with local authority Covid-19 marshals.

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: “This is not the time to be picking and choosing where to travel to exercise based on which location you’d prefer to visit. This will have to wait for another time.

“We are asking people to be responsible and play their part. We will continue to use discretion when speaking to members of the public. However, we will enforce where necessary.

“We want people to get into the mind set of – how close to home can I be to safely exercise, not how far can I travel to exercise and get away with it. If everyone adopted this mind set, no further clarification would be needed.”