POLICE in Powys will use discretion in enforcing Covid-19 travel regulations after a change in the guidance easing the lockdown.

On Saturday the coronavirus regulations in Wales changed from 'stay at home' to 'stay local' allowing people to travel but within a general five-mile radius.

Dyfed-Powys Police Chief Inspector Jacqui Lovatt has told the County Times there will be flexibility in this change for residents in the county given its rural make-up, and that it can be more than five miles from the nearest supermarket or essential services for many people.

But officers will still be visiting popular locations, engaging with the public and turning people away if they abuse the regulations – only being fined if necessary.

Chief Insp Lovatt said: "We're continuing to engage with the public and encouraging them to keep to the guidelines.

"If you look at the legislation it makes reference to a five-mile radius, but within that there is a caveat which accepts that in rural communities, five miles may not be deemed as local - because we accept with such a rural community, people are often travelling more than five miles to go to the supermarket.

"We're just asking really for people to be sensible. We continue to do a lot of stop-checks in the area which in all honesty has received a lot of public support, the local community are actually welcoming these stop-checks.

"It's a case by case basis. If we've got people travelling to us from say Shrewsbury, with a view to using our local supermarkets, then that's not deemed as essential travel, that's not sticking to the local guidelines when they have got facilities nearer to their own locality. It's about being sensible really.

"We continue to do a lot of engagement work and really if it's a blatant abuse of the regulations than we are still issuing tickets where appropriate but a lot of it is engagement and asking people to comply. We've also turned people away from the area so it's not all about issuing tickets, it's about having that engagement and encouraging people to do what's right to protect themselves more than anything."

She added: "We're still patrolling those beauty spots and we are still encouraging people to exercise locally, ideally from their home address but we accept these are local beauty spots and if you're local a lot of those beauty spots now like the Brecon Beacons have opened their car parks now.

"But we are still encouraging people that if they're not living locally they really need to be identifying areas to exercise closer to their home."