Councillor asks people to speak up after confronting lockdown rule breakers

Chief Executive & Clerk of the Course David Hunter said without their campsite at Fakenham Racecours

Fakenham Town Councillor, David Hunter confronted four men after seeing fire coming from a woodland area behind Fakenham canoe club. - Credit: Ian Burt

A town councillor has told people to safely speak up against those breaking lockdown rules after confronting four people on council land.

Fakenham town councillor David Hunter said he spotted a group of four young men in a man-made ‘den’ drinking and smoking despite the national lockdown.

Mr Hunter, who is also the clerk of Fakenham racecourse, spotted a small fire and smoke from a small campfire on January 19 from the woodland area behind the town's canoe club while driving up Racecourse Road.

The land, known as Aldiss Community Park is owned by the town council, so he and a friend went to investigate.

A satellite image of a wooded area near a canoe club in Fakenham

The wooded area where Mr Hunter found the young men congregating. - Credit: Google Maps

What he found was four men in a ‘den’ which had a sofa and chair under a canopy.

“I spoke to them and told them 'this is private land and you cannot be lighting a fire here and you are breaking rules',” he said.

“It was a mixed aged group of young lads and a few of them who should have been homeschooling.

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“I was sad to think they could do something like that on private land, but youngsters will be youngsters.

“I felt comfortable to go up and have a chat with them.”

David Hunter already fears the worst for Thursday.

David Hunter supports people confronting others breaking lockdown rules, but only if it is safe. - Credit: Archant

“My message to the people of Fakenham is that if people are seeing stuff they think should not go on, they should say something.”

Mr Hunter, who has been a member of the town council since last November, said he did not face any hostility despite confronting the men.

“I wasn’t aggressive, I went up and made them aware they shouldn’t be doing this and they should pack up and take their rubbish,” he said.

“They were not aggressive or threatening, but people shouldn’t take the law into their own hand and if they are concerned about their safety they should contact the authorities.”

He added that he did not feel the need to report them to the police as he "felt comfortable to go up and have a chat with them." 

The councillor said that most of the den has now disappeared, but he will be removing the last of the rubbish.