PEOPLE are being urged to “act responsibly” when visiting Ryedale.

Ahead of the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, Ryedale District Council (RDC) is reminding visitors that although some aspects of lockdown have been lifted by the Government, allowing people to spend more time outdoors and to travel to exercise in the open air, social distancing rules need to be observed.

However, last weekend saw about 30 bikers congregate in Helmsley’s Market Place, causing concern to local residents.

North Yorkshire Police were called to the town to move the bikers on, and community officers from RDC also attended to cordon off the central area of the car park to prevent further gatherings.

RDC is continuing to urge people to act responsibly if coming to Ryedale for exercise, to plan their visit to allow for the fact that many amenities may not be open, and to follow the two-metre social distancing rule at all times.

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of RDC, said: “We aren’t trying to stop people enjoying being out of doors, and we totally understand that people want to come to our beautiful locations here in Ryedale.

“However it is absolutely vital that everyone respects the rules on social distancing, for the sake of our residents and our communities as a whole.

“Throughout last weekend we had community officers out and about across Ryedale just keeping a watchful eye, so we were ready to respond if any problem occurred.

“We have also been working closely with our colleagues at North Yorkshire Police to take joint action where needed.”

Cllr Duncan said: “Fortunately this particular situation was handled quickly, and our council officers remained on site during Sunday just to make sure that there were no further issues.

“The council is not there to police the public. Our officers are there mainly to provide reassurance, address complaints when they arise and seek harmonious resolutions by working with North Yorkshire Police where appropriate.”

Cllr Duncan added: “A busy bank holiday weekend is expected in our market towns and beauty spots, and we are hoping to work in the same constructive way.

“We welcome feedback from the public and our approach is under constant review.

“Ryedale is a friendly place, and we want to welcome responsible visitors back to our market towns and beauty spots in a safe way.

“Social distancing is essential, and, working closely with the police, we will do everything we can to make sure it is observed.”

The new rules mean two people from different households in England can meet outdoors.

Activities such as golf, angling and tennis are permitted, but only alone, with members of your household or with one other person from another household.

Fines have risen from £60 to £100 in England for anyone who police believe is breaching restrictions on movement during the lockdown – doubling for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

North Yorkshire Police’s Superintendent Charlotte Bloxham, silver commander for the response to Covid-19, said that 24 fines were issued by officers over last weekend from Friday to Sunday.

She added: “There have been pockets where we have had to engage, explain and encourage people to stick to the rules, but we have only used enforcement as a last resort.”