Three men from Burton have been handed covid-19 fines after getting into difficulty while trying to reach a Second World War fort located out to sea.

The trio had driven more than 150 miles from Staffordshire to Southend on Sunday before getting onto a boat, despite the restrictions on movement during lockdown.

On reaching the Essex town, the men got into an inflatable boat and set off in an attempt to reach the Red Sands Sea Fort in Whitstable.

A series of estuary sea forts were built during the war in an effort to defend London and other Thames settlements from invasion.

The men failed in their bid to reach the fort, getting into difficulty and having to be rescued by emergency services.

They were brought into Sheerness Docks, where they told officers they had intended to spend the night at the sea fort.

The men, aged "between 31 and 41", were issued with fines for breaching covid-19 regulations, Kent Police said. In a police bodycam video, an officer can be heard telling the men: "You know due to national lockdown you shouldn't be gathering in more than two people outside within two metres of each other and you shouldn't be doing stuff that's non-essential, which obviously your journey is clearly non-essential, yeah?

"Usually we only give them to people that are in county; it's very rare that people are out of county.

"You guys have definitely come from the furthest. Just don't do it again."

The fines handed to the three men were among more than 200 fixed penalty notices issued for breaching covid-19 regulations by Kent Police.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: "While the vast majority of people continue to abide by the latest Government guidelines to help stop the spread of the virus, it is incredibly frustrating that there are still a small minority who think the rules don't apply to them.

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"We have seen examples of people who are not only behaving selfishly, but also putting unnecessary strain on the emergency services with their reckless actions.

"While I understand the desire we all have to return to normality, we are still in a critical time and it is important to do the right thing, follow the guidelines, save lives and protect the NHS.

"Preventing the spread of the virus is a shared effort and all members of the public need to take personal responsibility."