A COUPLE who ignored advice to stay local have been described as 'incredibly fortunate' to come out with their lives after getting into difficulty on a snow-covered Yorkshire Dales mountain.

The walkers, from Rochdale, arrived at Ingleborough 'ill-equipped' for the wintry conditions.

The news came as North Yorkshire Police (NYP) reported officers in the Craven district were 'run off their feet' at the weekend speaking to visitors from outside the area who had 'come out for a drive' or 'to look at the snow'.

The Rochdale couple contacted police at around 4.30pm on Sunday after losing their way amid low-lying fog.

The Cave Rescue Organisation (CRO) was mobilised and scaled the peak, bringing the cold and shaken couple safely down the mountain.

“This couple were incredibly fortunate to have come through this experience without injury and be able to tell the tale," said NYP superintendent Mike Walker.

“We very clearly advised members of the public this weekend to stay at home and, when taking exercise, stay local to stop the spread of Covid.

"Quite simply, driving miles and miles out of your village, town or city to visit an open space is not a necessary journey and is not acceptable.

“Neither is arriving at a challenging walking location inexperienced and unprepared in treacherous weather conditions.

"By making an irresponsible and ill-informed decision, the safety of others such as the CRO volunteers is also put in jeopardy and, if any injury resulted, pressure placed upon already-stretched NHS resources."

Supt Walker said 70 fixed penalty notices were issued for breaches of Covid regulations in the county over the course of the weekend.

Julia Mulligan, police, fire and crime commissioner for North Yorkshire, said there was still a 'significant minority' who thought the rules did not apply to them.

"The message is simple – stay at home apart from for very specific reasons," she said.

"Those reasons do not include taking a day trip to North Yorkshire from elsewhere or travelling to a different part of North Yorkshire if you live here.

"Exercise should be taken close to your home, not close to other people’s homes far from yours, in communities who are doing all they can to stop the spread.

“I fully support NYP's approach which has always been to ask and engage with enforcement only as a last resort.

"But, I am clear – if they find blatant breaches of the law, they are absolutely right to take action.

"The vaccines being rolled out give us hope for the future but, for now, each and every one of us needs to take responsibility for protecting our NHS and saving lives.”