Coronavirus: More people in the streets, Cleveland Police warns

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A Cleveland Police officer speaks to two men sat together on a bench
Image caption,
Officers have issued 170 fines to people breaking the guidelines

More people are venturing outside despite coronavirus lockdown guidelines, a police force has said.

Cleveland Police said it was "a shame" streets in part of North-East England were getting busier.

While a majority of people were following government guidance, it said, officers had issued 170 fines for offences including attendance at house parties

It also described spit and cough attacks on its officers as "appalling".

Two men who had travelled 100 miles (160km) from Rotherham to Saltburn to buy a dog are among those to have been given fines, typically in the region of £60.

Additionally, 710 warnings have been handed out by the force.

Insp Darren Birkett said: "There are more people about, which is a shame because we've still got [at least] two more weeks of lockdown."

He added while officers were "trying to do their best to support communities" they had faced trouble from a minority of people.

"It's appalling. To be assaulted, spat at or coughed at is shocking.

"We really welcome the tough sentences the courts have been giving out."

However, officers also say donations of food and cards commending their work show there has been a positive change in the way they are viewed by the majority of the public.

Sgt Steve Pattison told the BBC: "We see a lot of the bad - the deaths, the assaults the criminal damage.

"But with this situation we've seen real good in people. We've had biscuits sent to us, doughnuts, and you get cards from people saying 'thank you'.

"You realise 99% of people are law-abiding and understand what's going on."

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