POLICE forces in and around Herefordshire have said how they will be responding to the 17-day "fire break" lockdown in Wales.

At 6pm yesterday, Wales entered a two-week 'circuit break' or 'fire break' nationwide lockdown, lasting until Monday, November 9.

Among the new rules is the requirement to only travel when it is essential to do so.

There are no nationwide restrictions in place over the border in England.

The new 'circuit break' rules have thrown up countless questions in the past week or so, including doubts over how the restrictions will be enforced on the Wales-England border.

The current 'circuit break' rules mean people outside Wales are being discouraged from visiting – as was the case towards the end of the UK's national lockdown earlier this year, when restrictions in Wales were lifted slightly later than in England.

"Regrettable as it is, people from outside Wales must not come to Wales," first minister Mark Drakeford said earlier this week, adding: "These measures are not to keep people away, they're not because we don't look forward to visits, but now is not the moment.

"We need your help as much as we need the help of people who live in Wales."

But what have the police forces in and around Herefordshire said?

West Mercia Police

When the lockdown came into force at 6pm on Friday, police said they wanted to reassure people who live on the border between England and Wales.

As has been the message throughout the pandemic, the force will only enforce the rules when it's a last resort.

"We recognise the unique position that you are in and we appreciate that this may be a difficult and confusing time for you," a spokesperson said.

"We are working with our Dyfed-Powys, North Wales and Gwent Police colleagues to support you and will continue to engage with our communities and enforce, where necessary, the relevant rules for the area we serve."

Gloucestershire Constabulary

Police in the Forest of Dean will attempt to block non-essential journeys out of Wales during the lockdown.

Gloucestershire Constabulary confirmed they will patrol routes into the Forest of Dean area and pull over vehicles they suspect of making long journeys.

The force said drivers who turned out to have driven out of Wales without a valid excuse would be advised to turn around and, if they refused, would then be reported to police in Wales who can issue fines.

It said it would form part of a wider police operation in response to high numbers of people from outside the Forest of Dean area visiting Cannop cycle centre and causing congestion by parking on grass verges near it.

A spokesman for the force said on Friday: "While we cannot issue fines to those travelling from Wales into the county we can inform the host force of those we stop about what has happened so they can take action.

"Officers will be running an operation from tomorrow and over the weekend that will cover routes from Wales into the Forest of Dean and if we stop someone travelling from Wales we will be engaging with them to find out why, explaining the legislation and encouraging them to turn around if we are not satisfied with their explanation.

"If they don't turn around we will then inform the force that polices the area they have travelled from so that they can issue a fine.

"It is important to stress that the vast majority of people are abiding by the rules but, in line with our policing approach, we will take action where there are flagrant breaches."

Gwent Police

The Welsh force, which covers areas such as Abergavenny, Monmouth and Newport, had been out patrolling the M4 on Friday evening when the lockdown was introduced.

Police officers carried out patrols near the second Severn crossing last night (Friday), coinciding with the new lockdown restrictions in Wales.

Motorcyclists from Gwent Police's Operations and Support team conducted a series of vehicle checks near the M4 Prince of Wales Bridge.

Gwent Police said 10 "vehicles of interest" were stopped during "pro-active patrols" last night.

Of those 10 vehicle stops, six fines were issued for breaches of the coronavirus regulations.

Ahead of the lockdown, the force said: "As we move into the next stage of combating this virus, we have a simple ask.

"We all have a part to play, and now we must follow the new Welsh Government restrictions and stay at home wherever possible. By doing so we prevent local hospitals being overwhelmed and protect our communities.

“Throughout this fire break lockdown we’ll be continuing to engage with our communities and explain the importance of keeping Wales safe.

“For those that knowingly go against these restrictions, we will take enforcement action.

“Across Gwent we will be carrying out additional patrols, in particular over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period.

“Working with local businesses and partners, we’ll be ensuring that everyone is doing all that they can to help us prevent the continued spread of this virus.

“We remain committed to responding to all reports of crime and providing an effective service to the communities of Gwent.”