Lovesick Man Who Took Jet Ski to See Girlfriend Jailed for Breaking Coronavirus Laws

LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT, GOSPORT - MAY 20: Members of the public enjoy the sunny weather and relaxed government restrictions as they Jet Ski as the sun sets on May 20, 2020 in Lee-On-The-Solent, England . The British government has started easing the lockdown it imposed two months ago to curb the spread …
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A lovesick man who travelled from Scotland to the Isle of Man on a jet ski to see his girlfriend has been convicted of breaking the island’s coronavirus laws and sentenced to one month in prison.

Dale McLaughlan, 28, had never used a jet ski before but bought the device and set off from the Isle of Whithorn, Scotland, on Friday to Ramsey. Expecting the journey to last only 40 minutes, it took Mr McLaughlan four-and-a-half hours to cover the 25-mile trip across the Irish Sea. He then had a 15-mile trek from the coast to his girlfriend’s home in Douglas, the island’s capital.

The couple had met when Mr McLaughlan worked on the island in September as a roofer. After returning to Britain, the 28-year-old applied to be allowed to come back to Man, which has strict coronavirus rules on who can enter, but both of his applications were denied, according to the BBC.

His girlfriend was apparently unaware of McLaughlan’s intentions and believed he had not left at all, but simply had been working in another part of the island. The following night, the pair went clubbing. Police then arrested McLaughlan, from Irvine, North Ayrshire, on Sunday, charging him with illegal entry.

Appearing at Douglas Courthouse this week, the young man pleaded guilty but told the court that he had been suffering from depression and longed to see his partner. Despite his admission and professing mitigating circumstances, Deputy High Bailiff Christopher Arrowsmith gave the Scotsman a custodial sentence of four weeks, meaning he will miss Christmas with his family.

The deputy high bailiff said: “The facts are highly unusual. This is not a case of arriving by boat or plane. He put himself at very real risk.

“He was wholly inexperienced in operating a jet ski. He deliberately attempted to avoid detection and circumvent the entry regulations in place to protect the Isle of Man.”

Mr LcLaughlan had said that he had twice taken a coronavirus test and it was negative, four days before departure and again on his arrival on the island.

The Daily Mail labelled him the “Romeo Roofer”, revealing that the love-struck man “can’t even swim”, according to a source speaking to the newspaper.

The Isle of Man is situated between the islands of Britain and Ireland and is known internationally for motorcycle racing, specifically the Tourist Trophy races. It is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, and home to the world’s oldest continuing parliament, the Tynwald.

The Manx island made headlines earlier this year when it became the first government in the British Isles to arrest someone for failing to follow quarantine orders.

The island, which has had only 373 confirmed cases of Chinese coronavirus, requires written permission before visitors can enter or re-enter.

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