Police officers have started patrolling public spaces and tourist hot-spots in Powys, and stopping drivers for spot-checks, as part of a crackdown amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Dyfed-Powys Police today said it was part of national action to tackle the Covid-19 outbreak.

Roads Policing Units will also work with Neighbourhood Policing Teams and colleagues in British Transport Police to stop people gathering as they did over the weekend.

“We appreciate that the situation over the last week has changed rapidly but it is vital people understand what we are doing and why,” said roads policing inspector Andy Williams.

“Our main priority remains the same – keeping everyone safe. But we are calling on people across the force to help us do that.

“More people on the roads means a greater likelihood of vehicles breaking down or being involved in an accident, which puts extra strain on the emergency services.

“But these extra interactions also increase the chances of the virus spreading and putting more people’s lives in danger.”

Currently, only essential travel is permitted across the UK.

This covers shopping for basic necessities such as food, daily exercise, travelling to and from work if you are an essential worker, and if you have a genuine medical need to go outside.

“We need everyone to take the current government lockdown seriously if we are to protect the vulnerable and look after those key workers who are keeping the country going,” added Insp Williams.

“We would also like to thank those who are already leading by example and making sure they stay home and save lives.”

Chief Inspector Jon Cooze, of British Transport Police, said: “We are pleased to be supporting our partners at Dyfed-Powys Police with Operation Dovecote which is there to protect the community and our NHS.

“Officers are conducting high-visibility patrols at stations, supporting railway staff and reminding the public of the urgent need to follow the government advice – only those making essential journeys should be travelling.

“You can expect to be asked if your journey is essential and, if not, we’ll be urging you to stay at home.

“We strongly encourage the rest of the public to do the right thing and help us save lives by staying at home and slowing the spread of the virus.

“If you experience any problems on the railway, text us on 61016 or call 0800 40 50 40, and we’ll be there.”