FOUR Swindon men were among the first in the county to be issued with coronavirus penalty notices after having an air rifle and drugs seized by police.

A black Audi was spotted in Axford, near Marlborough, at around 5.30pm on Saturday, and cops were tipped off that a weapon had been fired from the window.

When it was stopped 14 miles away in Elmina Road, Broadgreen, police found cannabis, as well as the air rifle in the boot.

The four men – aged 29, 35, 37 and 38 and from Swindon – were all arrested on suspicion of having an air weapon in a public place and possession of a class B drug. 

When they were taken to Gablecross for questioning, they were issued with fixed penalty notices for failing to comply with the new Coronavirus Act, which states people must only leave their house for essential travel.

The quartet have been released under investigation.

Chief constable Kier Pritchard issued a video plea on Friday for people to follow government advice and stay at home but says the force have received a spike in the number of calls about Covid-19 over the weekend.

He said: “We have seen an increase in people being outside and in public areas over this weekend.

“On Friday, we released a new information poster online and these posters have been put up out in the community, in particular, popular beauty spots. The aim of the poster is to urge people to follow the restrictions of self-isolating in order to avoid the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. However, it is really disappointing to hear that over the weekend in some locations these signs have been pulled down.”

He added: “The death toll for the country has now reached 4,313, with a total of 708 confirmed deaths yesterday alone. This is absolutely tragic – I would urge you all to remember that these rules are in place for a reason and that reason is to save lives.

“Over the coming days and weeks, there is likely to be all sorts of temptation – Easter weekend is looming and the weather is set to remain warm. I know that many people will be feeling fatigued and some may become complacent and consider the risks worth taking. We all must take responsibility for our actions – please stay home, stay safe, protect the NHS and save lives.

“These are clearly very unsettling and worrying times for everybody – I want to reassure you that officers will continue to take a common sense approach and they will always engage with people to understand individual circumstances – however, enforcement will be used where it is necessary.”

If you have concerns regarding how the government measures to tackle Covid-19 are being adhered to in Wiltshire and Swindon, visit

For all other non-emergency issues, call 101. In an emergency, call 999.