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Lovesick Scot jailed for breaching COVID rules on jet-ski odyssey

A photo posted on the internet of McLaughlan arriving in Ramsey harbor, Isle of Man, after a four-hour trip by jet ski across the chilly and choppy Irish Sea, before walking 24 kilometers to see his girlfriend.

LONDON: A lovesick Scottish man who bought a jet-ski so he could evade lockdown measures to visit his girlfriend in the Isle of Man has been jailed for breaching coronavirus restrictions, reports said. Dale McLaughlan from Ayrshire in southern Scotland met his girlfriend while working as a roofer on the island in the Irish Sea in September, the BBC reported Tuesday. Coronavirus restrictions on the tax haven-famous for the annual Tourist Trophy motorcycle race-mean non-residents currently require special permission to land on the island.

But after returning to Scotland when his contract ended, McLaughlan was denied permission to re-enter the island, the BBC said. Undeterred, the 28-year-old bought a jet-ski and set off last Friday to make the 40-kilometre (25-mile) sea-crossing by stealth. He had never ridden a jet-ski before and expected the journey to take around 40 minutes, prosecutors told a court in Douglas, the island’s main town, according to the BBC.

But the journey across the choppy waters-which have an average December temperature of around eight degrees Celsius (46 degrees Fahrenheit) according to Ireland’s meteorological service-took over four hours. He then had to walk 24 kilometers (15 miles) to his girlfriend’s home.

On Sunday he was arrested by police after they found out he had arrived illegally and visited nightclubs with his girlfriend. Deputy High Bailiff Christopher Arrowsmith said McLaughlan had made a “deliberate and intentional attempt to circumnavigate” the border restrictions, and jailed him for four weeks, the BBC said. McLaughlan’s defense lawyer said he had suffered from depression at not being able to see his partner. – AFP

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