Lockdown drinkers ‘turning beauty spot into beer festival’, say locals

Crowds gathering to drink alcohol at a popular green space in Newport are breaching coronavirus rules daily and should be stopped, according to people living nearby.

Ridgeway boasts views across the city and the neighbouring valleys but has become a meeting point for groups during lockdown.

Victoria Burns has lived in Ridgeway for several years and says people are also ignoring current essential travel laws by driving to the area: “Saturday might be the worst I’ve seen it to be honest.

“I’m up there once a day, sometimes twice, when I’m walking a dog and it was like a beer festival up there and that’s quite a common occurrence.

“When you see all those people out there breaking the rules it makes you feel like not bothering yourself.

“Every time I’ve got in touch with the police to say that there’s people driving to the area, they just say “how do you know they’ve driven?”.

“Well, because I watched them with my own eyes. But they don’t do anything.”

Giles Nuttall also lives nearby and says the problem with cars isn’t just a weekend issue: “There’s been an influx of traffic seven days a week, not just on the sunny weekends.

“I think in the last six weeks we’ve seen it get really busy and there’s always leftover alcohol cans. It’s just spoiling it for the locals that use the area for their exercise.

A spokesperson for Gwent Police said: “The current alert level in Wales requires everyone to think about their travel plans, stay at home and to only leave home when it is essential. 

“Alongside our partners, we’re asking the people of Gwent to do the right thing for their communities. 

“Exercise must also start and end from home, and people must avoid driving to exercise.”