Farmer assaulted as he disinfects public footpath gates

A farmer in Derbyshire was assaulted as he disinfected public footpath gates used by crowds of walkers over the weekend.

The Peak District farmer was repeatedly punched, and kicked in the ribs after he told a walker to go home.

See also: Coronavirus a ‘wake-up call’ to those who disvalue farmers

In a post widely shared on Facebook, the farmer said he got a “funny look” from the walker as he was disinfecting the gates on the footpath which borders his field on Sunday morning (22 March).

The farmer told the walker there were too many people in the area and he should leave.

In the post, he said: “I have just had to phone the police as my thanks was to be punched about 15 times then kicked in the ribs as I hit the floor. Please, please, please leave us alone.”

Thousands of people descended on the Peak District over the weekend, flocking to beauty spots and flouting government guidance on social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Peak District chiefs urged visitors to stay away from the area unless it was “absolutely necessary”.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has since introduced much stricter measures to enforce social distancing, telling the public to stay at home apart from for limited purposes. 

People will only be allowed out to exercise once a day, buy food or medicine, or travel to work if absolutely necessary.

Police appeal

A Derbyshire Police spokesperson said: “We were called at about 9.45am yesterday [Sunday 22 March] following a report of an assault on a farmer.

“The victim was left shaken and bruised, but did not suffer any serious, life-threatening or -altering injuries.

“The offender was white, aged about 40, with fair hair and glasses. He wore standard walking gear, a hat and a ‘snood’.”

Anyone with information should call Derbyshire Police on 101, quoting crime reference number 20*157808.

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