POLICE have issued a warning to families not to break lockdown rules as the Easter holidays get underway.

The message comes after Gloucestershire police issued their first fines to those ignoring social distancing rules on Saturday.

Two men and a woman from Manchester were issued with £60 penalties after being caught on the M5 travelling to Bristol to buy a car.

Officers were also called to another part of the Cotswolds on Monday after barbecues were held near a nature reserve.

And on Thursday night police were spat at and racially abused after breaking up a house party in Gloucester. Despite these incidents, Stroud police have praised residents in the area for their response to the lockdown and urged the public to continue to adhere to the rules over Easter.

In the 11 days from March 27 to April 6, more than 100 Covid-19 related incidents were reported to police in the Stroud area.

These include reports of anti-social behaviour and concern for welfare.

But police have generally praised the public.

Sergeant Andy Burfoot, of Stroud police, said: “Officers from the Stroud Neighbourhood Policing Team have been conducting patrols of the area and on the whole the response from the public has been positive and welcomed.

“We would like to remind the public that these measures and legislation is in place to protect themselves, their families and front line workers including our hard working NHS staff and other key workers.

“Please stay at home and save lives by protecting the public and the NHS.”

The weather is expected to reach around 20 degrees Celsius on Friday.

Stroud District Council leader Doina Cornell said in a statement endorsed by all leaders: “I would like to thank everyone in the district for their efforts in reducing the spread of coronavirus and supporting their neighbours.

“With the Easter Bank Holiday coming up and the weather improving, we appreciate it’s going to be tough to stay at home – but we must to play our part in reducing it spreading.”

Assistant chief constable for Gloucestershire Craig Holden added: “Given the current situation, it is clear that going on holiday is not a reasonable excuse for travelling, whether it is to visit a holiday cottage or to stay at a campsite.

“We are doing all we can to protect our local communities and we would ask that people from outside the county do not put extra pressure on our resources.

"The same message goes to those from Gloucestershire, who are thinking about leaving the county for the same reason, which will impact on the communities of the areas you are considering travelling to

There has been 39 Covid-19 related deaths so far in Gloucestershire.