Pokemon Go Player Fined For Breaking Lockdown Rules

posted on by Andrew Osmond
Player fined £200 for travelling 14 miles in Warwickshire

As ANN readers in Britain know all too well, the island is currently under 'lockdown' rules because of Covid. There's currently much confusion about what people can and cannot do under the rules, fuelled by incidents such as people being penalised for driving a few miles before getting out to exercise. (Exercise is allowed under the rules.) Reports of Prime Minister Boris Johnson taking a bicycle ride seven miles away from Downing Street have only increased the confusion.

Now the BBC reports that a man has been fined £200 in Warwickshire for playing Pokémon Go. The mobile game was originally designed to have players wandering around outdoors, hunting for Pokémon, but that did not impress the Warwickshire police.

According to the report, the man admitted to police that he had travelled from his home in Bedworth to look for Pokémon characters in Kenilworth, 14 miles away. He was fined for "contravening the requirement to not leave or be outside the place they live without a reasonable excuse."

Official government rules say that people should not travel outside their local area while exercising. As of writing, there are no concessions for Pokémon hunters.

The incident follows a recent Twitter spat between Pokémon Go players and Essex Police (Rochdale District). According to the Dexerto and Eurogamer websites, on January 10, the Essex Police posted a message on its Twitter feed as follows:

"Whilst patrolling, our Community Policing Team have had cause to speak with a number of different men, aged 30+ over the last week, who seemed to feel it is acceptable to attend certain public places within the district, to hunt Pokémon! Honestly yes, you did read that correctly. If that happens to be someone you know, please remind them of the following information..."

The message then goes on to list the only legitimate reasons for leaving home under lockdown. One of those reasons is exercise.

According to the Southend Standard, the message went viral on Reddit, with over 600 comments debating whether Pokémon Go counted as legitimate exercise or not. Dexerto reports many people felt the "30+" comment in the police's message was a gratuitous insult.

The Essex police later took down the comment. A spokesman for the police said, "We were called to concerns of people making non-essential journeys in the Rochford area last week. We issued a tweet to remind the public of government guidelines re non-essential travel.The Tweet was issued in good faith but was later deleted to ensure the appropriate level of seriousness when sharing crucial partnership and safety messages about the pandemic."

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