emergency services and volunteer rescue teams at the scene of the incident at Thomason Foss
Emergency services and volunteer rescue teams at the scene of the incident at Thomason Foss

Common sense and personal responsibility urged as minority increase demand on services

1 June 2020

North Yorkshire Police and its partners that form the Local Resilience Forum have thanked the majority of people who’ve enjoyed this weekend’s great weather responsibly, but are appealing to the minority to use common sense and take personal responsibility after officers and other emergency services were called to a number of incidents over the weekend.

On Sunday, despite a plea last week for people to respect the area, and water safety advice issued, over 200 people gathered at Thomason Foss near Beck Hole on the North York Moors. Officers dispersed most of the people who had gathered with the exception of a number of families who were acting responsibly. Around 200 people were dispersed from the area including a group who became abusive when they were asked to extinguish a barbeque.

Officers were then called back to the scene following a report that a 36-year-old man had dived from the top of the waterfall, injured his back and had breathing difficulties. A full rescue operation was put in place involving the police, mountain rescue volunteers, the coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter, road ambulance, the fire and rescue service and the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, in total 29 emergency service and rescue personnel were involved in the operation that ended with the man being airlifted to Hull Royal Infirmary.

Elsewhere officers dealt with a number of incidents including

  • A man carrying out a lewd act on Scarborough beach
  • A 35-year-old man was rescued from the sea at Scarborough by the RNLI after running off from officers when he was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated offence.  He was arrested on return to the shore and checked over by ambulance staff before being interviewed by officers. He has since been released while under investigation.
  • At Kirkham Priory near Malton officers were called to an incident where two swimmers had got into difficulty. Thankfully they managed to get out of the water and were attended to by ambulance staff.
  • At Aysgarth falls 10 traffic offence reports were issued to motorists who had obstructed the highway and four were issued to motorists in Richmond Market Place

In addition, a total of 14 fines under the coronavirus regulations were issued over the weekend including overnight stays in second homes and large groups gathering in public areas to drink.

A proactive response to issues seen at Richmond Falls over the previous bank holiday resulted in large groups being dispersed by joint teams of police, stewards drafted in by Richmondshire District Council, and the Royal Military Police. Officers thanked local people for their support.

Superintendent Charlotte Bloxham, North Yorkshire Police’s silver commander for the response to covid-19, said:

This weekend has seen unprecedented numbers of visitors to local beauty spots and although people were out in numbers, the vast majority of people were acting responsibly and we thank them for their continued efforts. However, once again, there have been pockets of antisocial behaviour and other incidents that have placed demand on the emergency services. Unfortunately it’s a minority causing issues for the majority of law-abiding people.

As more restrictions are lifted and we have more freedom to meet one another, it’s now more important than ever that we take personal responsibility and respect local communities. We all need to work together to control the virus and while the police cannot enforce social distancing guidance, we urge people to remember that although some of the restrictions have been relaxed, the virus has not gone away, you can still catch it and pass it on to your family and friends.

The overarching aim of the police response has always been to keep people as safe as possible, and encourage them to follow the regulations, reducing the transmission of the virus to protect lives. We’ll continue to play our part  and engage with members of the public, explain the regulations and encourage people to adhere to them, using enforcement as a last resort.


Richard Flinton, Chair of North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum, added:

I appeal to everyone to take personal responsibility to help us limit the spread of Covid-19 in North Yorkshire by adhering to the very simple actions that we know make a huge difference. Stay at least 2 metres apart from people you don’t live with at all times, wash your hand regularly with soap and warm water and avoid crowds. I cannot stress enough that we are at a very delicate point in managing the impact of this pandemic and if the rate of infection starts to go up again and the health service is put under pressure – more people we love could die and we could all end up in lockdown again. Don’t risk it. It’s just not worth it. Please, do the right thing, and plan ahead to limit the spread.


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