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Plea for increased police patrols after golf club used for picnics and sunbathing

PUBLISHED: 16:07 06 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:29 06 April 2020

Rushmere Golf Club. Picture: ARCHANT

Rushmere Golf Club. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

The chairman of a popular golf club is imploring the public to follow self-isolation guidelines after people were seen picnicking and sunbathing on a course in Ipswich over the weekend.

Greenkeepers at Rushmere Golf Club say they have seen up to 75 people on the course which is currently closed in accordance with government coronavirus guidelines.

People were seen meeting for bike rides, sunbathing in bunkers and even having picnics on the greens.

Fewer people were seen on the course on Sunday but club chairman Steve Potts said there were still too many not adhering to government guidelines.

He said: “I’ve heard from out greens keeper that there were many people out on the common this weekend.

“It is really disappointing to see that some people are not following the guidelines and it is really emphasised at Rushmere Common because a few hundred yards up the road is Ipswich Hospital where nurses and doctors are working hard and sadly people are dying.

“Apparently there were children cycling on the fairways and people having a picnic on a green.

“I know people are allowed to go out for one form of exercise a day, and most people are adhering to those guidelines, there are clearly a minority who are not.”

The scene over the weekend has prompted the golf club to ask for Suffolk police to increase their presence in the area in a bid to discourage revellers from disregarding government advice.

Mr Potts added: “We have contacted the police and asked them to increase patrols.

“Firstly my concern is that people are not adhering to government guidelines. We all want this to be over as soon as possible and the way to do that is to follow the guidelines.

“But we are also concerned that the golf course, which we have just spent a considerable amount of money on, will be damaged by people not using it for its purpose.

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“We expect it to be busier on the weekends, but my concern is that, if we are going to have a period of nicer weather, that people will come out during the weekdays as well due to them working from home.”

A Suffolk Constabulary spokeswoman said: “Local officers carried out patrols in the area over the weekend and will always respond as necessary to any public concerns.

“Officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage people to do the right thing; stay at home to protect others.

“We will investigate any offences promptly and the safer neighbourhood team and response officers will be conducting regular patrols across Ipswich this week, and over the Bank Holiday weekend.

“We would like to reassure the public that we take all reports seriously and thank those individuals who are abiding by the government instructions.

“It is imperative people comply with the government measures to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed and to ensure lives are saved.

“We all need to work together to protect our NHS and other public services.”


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