FOUR men from Swindon were among the first in the county to receive notices of sanction for coronavirus after they seized an air rifle and drugs from the police.
A black Audi was spotted in Axford, near Marlborough, around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and police were told a gun had been fired from the window.
When arrested 22 km away on Elmina Road in Broadgreen, police found cannabis, as well as the air rifle in the trunk.
The four men – aged 29, 35, 37 and 38 from Swindon – were all arrested on suspicion of having an air gun in a public place and having a class B drug.
When they were taken to Gablecross for questioning, they received fixed penalty notices for non-compliance with the new coronavirus law, which states that people should only leave their homes for essential travel.
The quartet was released on investigation.
Police chief Kier Pritchard made a video call on Friday to follow government advice and stay at home, but said the force had received a spike in calls to Covid-19 at over the weekend.
He said: “We have seen an increase in the number of people outside and in public spaces over the weekend.
“On Friday we released a new information poster online and these posters were placed in the community, especially in popular beauty spots. The purpose of the poster is to encourage people to respect the restrictions on self-isolation to prevent the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. However, it is really disappointing to hear that over the weekend, in some places, these signs were removed. “
He added: “The death toll in the country has now reached 4,313, with a total of 708 deaths confirmed yesterday alone. It is absolutely tragic – I urge you all to remember that these rules are in place for a reason and that reason is to save lives.
“Over the next few days and weeks there will likely be all kinds of temptations – Easter weekend is looming and the weather should stay warm. I know that many people will feel tired and some may become complacent and consider the risks involved. We must all take responsibility for our actions – please stay at home, stay safe, protect the NHS and save lives.
“This is clearly a very troubling and worrisome time for everyone – I want to reassure you that officers will continue to take a common sense approach and that they will always interact with people to understand individual circumstances – however, law enforcement will be used where necessary. “
If you have concerns about how government measures to combat Covid-19 are being followed in Wiltshire and Swindon, visit https://www.wiltshire.police.uk/article/5951/Coronavirus-report-your-concerns
For all other non-emergency issues, dial 101. In an emergency, dial 999.