Scores of travellers arrived in Appleby this weekend even though the annual horse fair had been cancelled.

The annual event, which usually sees thousands descend on the town and was due to take place between June 4 and 7, was cancelled as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic.

It's only the second time in 250 years the historic fair has had to be called off.

But up to 100 people with about a dozen horses still made their way to Cumbria.

One Appleby resident, who did not want to be named, said: "I'm not surprised we've had so many people come. Nothing will stop them coming."

Residents had raised concerns that members of the gypsy and traveller community would arrive despite the cancelled horse fair, fearing that if social distancing wasn't adhered to they could bring coronavirus to the town.

Police officers, wearing face coverings, are visible in the town.

Cumbria Police said in a statement: "We are aware of the presence of a number of gypsy and traveller visitors in and around Appleby.

"Following discussions, our understanding is the visitors had no intention of staying overnight.

"Officers will continue to monitor the situation.

"We would stress that Appleby Horse Fair is not taking place this year, in line with efforts to stop the spread of Covid-19, and would strongly advise anyone who is still planning to travel to this area for this purpose to stay away."

Speaking last month, Billy Welch, known as the Shera Rom or Head Gypsy, had urged members of his community not to gather in Appleby. He said: “The current situation with Covid-19 is bad and I wouldn’t want any of my family put in danger or the chance of the settled community being put in any danger.”