Roofer who crossed Irish Sea on a JET SKI to visit partner is jailed

Roofer, 28, who crossed the Irish Sea from Scotland to the Isle of Man on a JET SKI to visit his girlfriend during lockdown is jailed for breaking Covid rules after four-and-a-half-hour journey

  • Dale McLaughlan made daring trip despite never driving such a vehicle before
  • After reaching land, he had to trek another 15 miles on foot to see his partner 
  • The 28-year-old was jailed for four weeks after admitting arriving unlawfully 
  • Do you know Dale McLaughlan? Get in touch: [email protected] 

A roofer who used a jet ski to cross the Irish Sea for four-and-a-half hours and visit his girlfriend during lockdown 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.

He also thought the crossing would only take him 40 minutes, but was on the water for far longer, then also had to trek 15 miles on foot before finally arriving at his lover’s door, according to the BBC.

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

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.  

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 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.   

McLaughlan then walked to Douglas, home of his girlfriend, 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, but after 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.

He 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. 

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