Roofer, 28, who crossed the Irish Sea on a JET SKI to visit his girlfriend is jailed

A roofer who spent four-and-a-half hours on a jet ski crossing the Irish Sea to visit his girlfriend has been jailed for breaking coronavirus rules.

Dale McLaughlan made the daring trip from the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland to Ramsey on the Isle of Man on Friday, despite never driving such a vehicle before.

The 28-year-old first met lover Jessica Radcliffe on a night out in September after he was granted permission to spend four weeks working on the island, which has enforced strict border rules during the pandemic.

A registration form must be completed and an entry certificate provided for visitors to the island to be allowed in legally.

McLaughlan made subsequent attempts to return and try and see her, but was rejected by authorities, at which point he turned to the jet ski, and travelled 25 miles over sea – a journey he thought would be 40 minutes long but ended up taking far longer.

Even when he made it to land, he then had to trek another 15 miles on foot before finally arriving at the door of his lover, who believed he had been on the island working for several weeks, according to the BBC.  

When quizzed on his address, McLaughlan gave officers Miss Radcliffe’s instead of his own, and the couple went out clubbing together.

But he was arrested later that weekend after police made identification checks.

A graphic shows the 25-mile trip Dale McLaughlan made from Scotland to the Isle of Man, breaking coronavirus restrictions, to see his girlfriend

A graphic shows the 25-mile trip Dale McLaughlan made from Scotland to the Isle of Man, breaking coronavirus restrictions, to see his girlfriend

A graphic shows the 25-mile trip Dale McLaughlan made from Scotland to the Isle of Man, breaking coronavirus restrictions, to see his girlfriend

He made the daring trip from the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland to Ramsey on the Isle of Man on Friday despite never driving such a vehicle before. File picture

He made the daring trip from the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland to Ramsey on the Isle of Man on Friday despite never driving such a vehicle before. File picture

He made the daring trip from the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland to Ramsey on the Isle of Man on Friday despite never driving such a vehicle before. File picture

After the four-and-a-half-hour journey, he arrived at Ramsey harbour, pictured, on Friday

After the four-and-a-half-hour journey, he arrived at Ramsey harbour, pictured, on Friday

After the four-and-a-half-hour journey, he arrived at Ramsey harbour, pictured, on Friday

The Covid situation on the Isle of Man

On the Isle of Man there have been just 373 confirmed Covid-19 cases since March, with four active cases at the moment and none in hospital.

For those on the island, the government has lifted all restrictions on public life.

Its website says: ‘Any legal requirement for social distancing in our community was removed on 15 June. 

‘Businesses are no longer legally required to take steps in relation to social distancing, such as encouraging employees to work from home, or limiting the number of customers in shops.’

However, there are still strict border rules, which the government admits are likely to stay in force ‘for some time to come’.

The current ‘Level 4’ system allows those who live on the island to make non-essential journeys beyond, but must self-isolate for 14 days upon returning.

However, those who don’t live on the island must complete a registration form and be granted an entry certificate to be allowed in.  

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Island rules mean those who aren’t residents need special permission to enter, which McLaughlan didn’t have. 

The 28-year-old, of Warrix Avenue in Irvine, North Ayrshire, admitted arriving unlawfully on the island and was jailed for four weeks.

A court was told how McLaughlan was given the green light for four weeks in September in order to do some roofing work, and met his new partner on a night out, having isolated for the first 14 days.

He made subsequent applications to return and was rejected, but bought the jet ski and set off on the 25-mile voyage regardless.

After making it to land, McLaughlan then walked all the way to Douglas, home of Miss Radcliffe, who thought he’d been working on the island for several weeks.

The next day, he gave a police officer her address as his own and the couple went to two busy nightclubs.

However, after identification checks were made, he was arrested on the Sunday evening.

The court was told in mitigation the roofer suffered from depression and was struggling with not being allowed to see his partner. 

In sentencing, Deputy High Bailiff Christopher Arrowsmith said McLaughlan had made a ‘deliberate and intentional attempt to circumnavigate’ the island’s rules, and was potentially putting the community at risk.

The current ‘Level 4’ system allows those who live on the island to make non-essential journeys beyond, but must self-isolate for 14 days upon returning.

However, those who don’t live on the island must complete a registration form and be granted an entry certificate to be allowed in.

Mr Arrowsmith added that the defendant’s ‘carefully planned’ journey had also put McLaughlan himself ‘at very real risk’ of harm.

Public health officials were satisfied there was no wider risk to the public as a result of the incident, it was reported after the hearing. 

Speaking at her home in Irvine last night, McLaughlan’s mother Allison told the Sun: ‘I didn’t even know about the jet ski. I just don’t know why he did it – he could have killed himself.’

Miss McLaughlan added: ‘He’ll be missing his kids over Christmas.’

Link hienalouca.com

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