A LARGE search was launched after a car was left empty at a beauty spot overnight.

A search of the area was launched as concern grew for two people believed to have been the occupants of the vehicle, which had been seen at Birling Gap near Eastbourne.

But the couple were later found at nearby Cow Gap, having travelled down from London for a camping trip.

Police, lifeboat and coastguard crews all responded after the vehicle was spotted near the cliffs at Beachy Head on Sunday morning.

The Argus:

A search was launched for two people.

A volunteer Eastbourne Lifeboat crews were one of the services to be called to assist with the hunt for the missing pair.

They were found later that morning, camping at nearby Cow Gap.

An Eastbourne Lifeboat spokesman said: "A volunteer inshore lifeboat crew joined coastguards and police this morning in search for two people after a car was left overnight near Beachy Head.

"A couple from London who had camped at Cow Gap were located."

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This contravened Government advice, in which they urged people to Stay Home whenever possible, only leaving their homes for one short bout of daily exercise or essential trips such as shopping for food or picking up medication.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: "Sussex Police, joined by partner agencies, carried out a search operation at Beachy Head in the early hours of Sunday morning after a vehicle was found in a car park at the top of the cliffs late on Saturday night.

"Two people from London were found camping in a tent on the beach at Cow Gap around 7am on Sunday.

"They confirmed the car belonged to them and said they had travelled to the site because they wanted to 'get out of the house for a bit'.

"They were both issued with Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for breaching Covid-19 restrictions and were given strong words of advice."

It was not the only incident of this nature police in Sussex had to deal with over the weekend.

Despite signs blocking the area, cars continued to park at Ditchling Beacon on Sunday.

Sussex Roads Police shared a picture of the offending vehicles and said: "We’re not sure these signs could be any clearer. "Unfortunately people still decided to ignore them so they could have a picnic."

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But, with the announcement of the Government's switch to a new Stay Alert slogan yesterday evening, people are now allowed to take unlimited outdoor exercise.

Answering questions on changes to guidelines surrounding exercise, foreign secretary Dominic Raab told BBC Breakfast this morning: “You can drive as far as you want to drive to go and walk in a park or a particular area that you’re fond of as long as you maintain the social distancing.

"But obviously, if you’re going from one part of the UK to another, so if you’re going from England to Wales or from Scotland to Wales and different rules are in place because the devolved administrations take a different approach. You need to be very mindful of the regulations that they’ve got in place.”

Sussex Police have been contacted for comment.

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