Things were getting decidedly Orwellian at the seaside in Portsmouth this weekend, as the local council deployed an aerial drone in order to gather surveillance of people daring to take a walk along the seafront.
Taking outdoor exercise and picking up takeaway food are both entirely legal under the current lockdown regimen in England, but hand-wringers on Portsmouth City Council cited “growing concern” over the numbers of people visiting the seafront in its decision to hire a drone and spy on them.
“We hired a drone to get some footage at the weekend, so we can see what the numbers are actually like,” council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson confessed to the local paper. “When I have been out, people have been gathering around in groups at takeaways – so we have to make sure that’s not happening, without hindering businesses in the process.”
“Exercise and takeaways are allowed, but please don’t travel for them,” he added. “Use your local area instead, we all have a part to play and it’s crucial that we adhere to the rules.”