Many people are still travelling to second homes and holiday homes in North East Fife, despite lockdown restrictions, The Courier has learned.
Calls have been renewed to stop unnecessary trips to the area amid ongoing complaints from residents about the influx of visitors.
The practice is persisting despite the furore around Scotland’s former chief medical officer Catherine Calderwood, who was forced to resign after it emerged she had gone against her own advice by visiting her second home in Elie on two consecutive weekends.
While Police Scotland refuses to provide regional statistics on coronavirus-related fines by type, sources have suggested as many as 16 people – from areas as far afield as London – have been hit with fixed penalty notices of varying amounts for visiting the East Neuk and surrounding area.
Online booking platform Airbnb suspended all it’s bookings on April 10 but listings across Fife are still appearing on a number of other websites, giving those who intend to break lockdown rules the means to do so.
North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain said: “We are now months into this advice having been issued and there can be no one in any doubt that this is against the rules and guidance issued by the UK and Scottish governments.
“While I appreciate this is a difficult time for everyone, travelling to a new area dramatically increases the risk of spreading the virus and burdening the health service here in Fife.
“I am urging everyone to stay at home and not travel unnecessary to North East Fife.
“It is not fair or sensible to treat anyone’s home and community as your isolation spot.”
MSP for the area, Willie Rennie echoed those sentiments, warning people to stay away from beauty spots across Scotland unless it was essential travel.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat leader said: “I have received a number of reports of ongoing behaviour of people travelling to the East Neuk and other parts of Fife during the government lockdown.
“It is distressing residents and against the lockdown rules.
“Fife will wait and will be here when this is over when we will gladly welcome their custom and tourism to help support our local economy.
“In the meantime, travelling here is an unnecessary risk both for those travelling and the community here in Fife so please stay at home.”
Police have the power to issue fixed penalty notices for anyone flouting restrictions, starting at £30 and doubling to £60 if not paid within 28 days.
Repeat offenders can face fines of up to £960.
Police Scotland confirmed it was not breaking down statistics according to the type of breach committed, but stressed attendance at a second home is being actively discouraged at both governmental and local policing level.
A spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government’s guidance is clear – people should only leave the house for very limited purposes, for example for basic necessities, such as food and medicine, for exercise, for medical needs or travelling for work which cannot be done at home.”