CHESHIRE Police will be setting up checkpoints on key roads in the county this weekend to ensure that lockdown measures are not being flouted.

Patrols will be in place on routes including the M6, M56, A49, A50, A55 and A540 over the Easter bank holiday.

Motorists will be stopped to ensure that their travel is essential amid the current emergency coronavirus measures.

These include shopping for basic necessities, exercising once per day, medical needs and travelling to and from work.

Officers are hoping to prevent day trippers from visiting the county and travelling to destinations in other areas as well.

Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “If you have good reason to be out on the roads this weekend, please don’t be offended if one of my officers stops you.

“I hope it simply reassures you that we’re doing our bit to protect you and your NHS.

“Staff will be friendly, and polite but firm if we find you are out without good reason.

“There is no excuse for breaching the government guidance and we just want you to go home and stay safe, so please listen to our officers’ advice.

“If you do need to travel, please play your part in reducing the strain on the NHS by using our roads carefully and sensibly, being mindful of speed limits even though there is less traffic on the road.”

The force has also urged residents not to invite their friends and family over for barbecues or parties.

Superintendent Westgate added: “We are all in the same boat, we miss our family and friends immensely, but we urge you to see the bigger picture and stay at home.

“If you can, get together virtually online.

“Give your elderly relative a ring and see how they are doing, but please don’t be tempted to pay a visit – The coronavirus pandemic isn't over yet, anyone can still catch it and anyone can spread it.

“The majority of people in Cheshire are being really supportive, listening to the advice, taking it on board and staying at home where they can.

“Thank you to everyone who is helping to play their part in saving lives and protecting the NHS.”