POLLS by the Romsey Advertiser have revealed more than two-thirds of Test Valley residents believe the Government’s new “rule of six” is the right move to help stamp out coronavirus - but the majority wouldn’t report their neighbours if they saw them flouting the rules.

As reported, social gatherings of more than six people are now illegal, which started on Monday (September 14).

The new law means anyone caught breaking the rules could face a fine of up to £3,200.

The measure was created to stop the rise in coronavirus cases across the UK.

READ: Police are on the hunt for offenders after a Romsey home is burgled >>> 

As the rule came into force, policing minister, Kit Malthouse, said concerned neighbours should ring the non-emergency police phone number to report people ignoring the rules.

Polls on the Advertiser’s Twitter page found 70 per cent of participants agree with the Government rolling out the “rule of six”.

However, 79 per cent admitted they would not report their neighbours to the police if they saw them meeting with too many people.

Romsey Advertiser: The poll asking readers if they would report their neighbours to the police if they saw them breaking the 'rule of six' The poll asking readers if they would report their neighbours to the police if they saw them breaking the 'rule of six'

Two posts on the Advertiser’s Facebook page asking readers if they support the new law and if they would tell on their neighbours sparked a debate.

These are some of the comments.

One Romsey woman wrote in response to the “rule of six” law: “I think it is a good idea, hopefully it won’t have to be for long if everybody does the right thing.”

However, another reader commented: “So you can go to a pub where there may be 100 people, but can’t meet more than six people in the garden. [It’s] complete nonsense.”

One woman added: “Although I think we have to take direct action to curtail the transmission, I don’t know why they have chosen six people instead of, for example, eight.

“Also, how is it going to be enforced when our police are already overstretched and under-resourced? It is all very confusing.”

READ: 'It is a kick in the teeth': Business owner criticises new 'rule of six' law >>>

Responding to whether they would contact the police to report a large social gathering, one person insisted: “No, because if we go on another lockdown they are the people we would rely on to shop for us.”

Another man said: “No, it is people’s responsibility to follow the rules.

“Police resources should be used for investigating and catching those involved in the rising crime levels currently being experienced in the area.”

One more stressed: “As if the police have the time and resources to address this situation. It wouldn’t even be worth calling.

“They’re under-resourced for regular policing activities, let alone checking up on gatherings of more than six.”

Two community leaders also agreed they would not report their neighbours to the police over social gatherings of more than six people.

Cllr Alan Dowden, who represents Valley Park on Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), said: “I don’t think the Government should be encouraging people to snitch on others, because it is not a matter for the public to get involved in.

“I want people to adhere to these rules, but encouraging people to behave like that is unnecessary and the Government needs to employ proper staff to police it.”

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Alan DowdenCllr Alan Dowden

Cllr Dorothy Baverstock, who represents the Romsey Cupernham ward, added: “I think the results are what you would expect, but what I find with the 79 per cent who wouldn’t snitch on neighbours is that on the whole you would find it very difficult to see how many people there are in someone’s house or garden.

READ: Community leader warns a second coronavirus lockdown could be on the cards >>>

“There is also the point that if people have bad relations with their neighbours then they will use this as an opportunity anyway.”

Romsey Advertiser: Cllr Dorothy BaverstockCllr Dorothy Baverstock