Residents have raised concerns after members of the gypsy and traveller community start to arrive ahead of the cancelled Appleby horse fair.

The annual event was cancelled as the country went into a nationwide lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and members of the community were told to stay away.

However, a number of residents who live in Appleby have noticed caravans arriving in the area along with people visiting the town.

One concerned member of the public, who didn’t want to be named, said: “In the last few days I have noticed that members of the gypsy and traveller community coming into the town looking for places that are open.

“What worries me is if they don’t appear to adhere to social distancing and could bring Covid-19 to the town. We don’t have much open and the normal barriers are not in place, which means people can pitch up along the roadsides.”

Cumbria police have confirmed that members of the gypsy and traveller community have started to arrive but not in the numbers normally associated with the fair.

In a separate operation, police have been cracking down on people camping. Sixteen fixed penalty notices were issued on Wednesday morning.

Superintendent Sarah Jackson said: “This operation has become necessary due to the significant influx of people using beauty spots, car parks and laybys in the Lake District as unofficial campsites. This is clearly in breach of the coronavirus legislation, and has had the additional impact of creating environmental damage.”