A FARMING couple who padlocked their gates to deter walkers has urged the public to wear gloves and sanitise ‘instead of putting other people at risk’.

Jenny Procter, of Pit Farm near Cartmel, said she and husband Neil initially tied some string around the gates but later found this had been cut through.

The padlocks have now been removed but Mr Procter said they still ‘don’t feel safe’ due to the risk of surfaces becoming contaminated by coronavirus.

“We don’t see the reason why we should have to go and sanitise the gates after everyone has been using them,” he said.

“We don’t have the time to do that all the time. If the public did it themselves then there wouldn’t be an issue.”

Ian Wood, of Grange, said he was dismayed to find his way barred by a padlock at the farm on his daily exercise.

He said he was forced to change his walking route to take him via Haggs Lane and ‘in the process was nearly killed by a car due to the blind bends’.

“I found it irritating because it’s a very well-used path as well,” he said.

“Since lockdown I have walked a lot of paths all round Cartmel and it’s the only one I have come across that’s actually padlocked. I haven’t come across any others.

"I’m quite happy for people to put signs up.”

He said farmers could wash their hands ‘like everybody else’.

Earlier this month, Cumbria County Council issued a warning about ‘footpath blocking’, reminding people that there was ‘no advice or requirement for the public rights of way network to be closed or restricted in any way.’

Following a telephone call from the Lake District National Park Authority and the Government’s decision to ease lockdown measures last Wednesday, the Procters said they decided to remove the padlocks.

But they called on the public to either avoid their farm, situated along the Cistercian Way entirely, or to wear gloves and sanitise if they did pass through it.

“We shut the gates because we didn’t feel safe basically," said Mr Procter.

"We weren’t supposed to shut them probably but me and my wife were prepared to take the consequences.

"The path comes right next to the farm, within two metres.

“If they are going to use footpaths, sanitise the gates and wear gloves instead of putting other people at risk.

"If someone goes through that gate and does have coronavirus, and doesn’t know they have got it, anyone else that comes through and touches that gate - if it hasn’t been sanitised - it’s just going to spread.”

They now have signs up offering an alternative route.