ST Helens' police chief is urging the public to 'stay home and help us protect our NHS' amid calls that people are going out on 'unnecessary' outings.

The UK has been on lockdown for two weeks now, with members of the public advised to only leave home for necessary outings, such as getting one type of physical exercise a day and getting food and medical supplies.

This does not apply to those who are key workers and elderley and vulnerable residents are asked to stay at home completely.

Police have been out enforcing this and have come across a few people not following these guidelines.

St Helens St Helens Temporary Superintendent Tami Garvey-Jones said: "In times like this it is important that the we communicate effectively with our communities and it is now more than ever, we need to work together and look after each other.

"We are working very hard to protect our hard working NHS and our officers by working, when possible, with the same teams to limit exposure. My police officers and staff are, where possible, adhering to social distancing but operationally this can be a challenge at times so we ask for your kind consideration and appreciate the hard work we have to do.

"On the whole we have had a great response from the St Helens public, with just a few individual cases of youths being out together and not from the same household.

"We have had reports of people out fishing, which is not a necessary activity, and we have made regular checks to key locations to ensure people are not doing unessential hobbies.

"We have also been to places around The Dream and Billinge Hill along with other open spaces where people have been gathering.

"Please stay close to home if you go out to exercise or walk your dog and please stay away from crowded gatherings.

"We have also had reports of irresponsible driving and riding of motorbikes and we know the roads are quieter and I would like to remind those drivers and riders to be careful and considerate and act responsibly as we will enforce road traffic legislation for those we find breaking the law.

"We've had officers out to reports of lock-ins, but these have come back negative, however, I urge the public to continue to make reports to us online as they are our eyes and ears in the community and we will always check things out to be safe.

"Please also report any other criminal matters that are non-urgent by using Crimestoppers and Fearless website campaigns.

"Criminals may exploit this situation and we still need to police those people and locations that may store items that are held illegally such as drugs, goods, vehicles and other items.

"The most important message I would like to say is please stay at home and help us protect our NHS and protect each other.

"Most people are taking all the advice on board and I'm very pleased, but there is room for improvements.

"We need to educate ourselves and listen and adhere to government rules around social distancing and self-isolation.

"We have always policed by consent and we value our communities and need your support more than ever.

"Our most effective tool is good communication and will engage, explain and encourage you to adhere to government rules.

"Enforcement will be our last resort for those few people who do not follow some simple rules.

"We all need to protect ourselves, protect each other and be socially kind to one another.

"Together we will fight this virus and be proud of St Helens communities who work together for each other."