POLICE officers in North Berwick issued five tickets within two days to people they caught breaching lockdown rules and driving to the town from Edinburgh.

Under the current restrictions, it is against the law to leave your local authority area for anything other than a limited number of essential reasons.

The drivers said to police after they had been stopped that they were simply “out for a drive” or after some “peace and quiet”.

Details of all the incidents were included in a report sent to North Berwick Community Council.

In the evening of January 29, a vehicle was stopped near Leuchie House respite centre due to the manner of driving.

It was revealed that the driver and passenger were both from Edinburgh and were out for a drive. Both were issued with a Covid breach ticket.

The following day, a man and woman were parked on Tantallon Terrace in the early hours of the morning with the engine running. Officers approached the vehicle, that was registered in Edinburgh. The driver said they were “just out for a drive”.

Both the driver and the passenger were issued with Covid breach tickets.

In the evening of the same day, a woman had driven from her home in Edinburgh to North Berwick for some “peace and quiet”. She was also issued with a Covid breach ticket.

Fines start at £30, doubling to £60 if not paid within 28 days.

Members of North Berwick Community Council welcomed the news of the fines, with secretary Kathryn Smith “glad to see” people were being fined for visiting the town illegally.

East Lothian’s MSP Iain Gray condemned the actions of the drivers and passengers, adding that the current rules “could not have been any clearer”.

He said: “The instructions to stay at home, and certainly within our own local area, during this lockdown could not have been any clearer.

“There have been some extreme examples of rule breaches over the last few weeks, so I welcome action being taken against anyone caught defying the travel rules.

“The fact is that non-essential travel can help to spread the virus and that will only result in a longer period of lockdown for everyone.

“We must all obey the rules.”

An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “While lockdown is starting to slow down the virus, the situation remains serious and highly fragile.

“Current restrictions, including the important ‘stay-at-home’ requirement, remain in place. People should only leave their own local authority area for a limited number of essential reasons, as set out by the Scottish Government.

“We are supportive of Police Scotland’s efforts to engage with the public and encourage compliance, recognising that enforcement is used as a last resort where there is a clear breach of legislation.

“We are very grateful to the vast majority for their support throughout the pandemic in following the rules and urge people to continue doing so in order to help us move to a less restrictive way of life.”