ENTERTAINMENT

The 28-year-old roofer who crossed the Irish Sea on a JET SKI to visit his girlfriend is imprisoned


Twitter users have gathered behind a Romeo roofer jailed for violating coronavirus restrictions after spending four and a half hours on a jet ski crossing the Irish Sea to visit his girlfriend.

New photos have captured the moment when 28-year-old Dale McLaughlan arrived on the Isle of Man after a 40km journey to visit his partner Jessica Radcliffe on Friday.

He had towed the jet ski 70 miles from his home in Irvine, Scotland, to the beach on the Isle of Whithorn, where he made the daring crossing, even though he had never driven one before.

McLaughlan thought the drive would be 40 minutes, but in fact it was almost five hours due to bad weather.

After finally landing, he had to walk another 15 miles before finally arriving at his lover's house in Douglas, the island's largest city.

Twitter was in awe of the romantic achievement, saying he deserved a medal or even a knighthood for his efforts.

But one Isle of Man resident was far from being overwhelmed by the romantic gesture branding him an "idiot" for trying to make the crossing.

New photos have captured the moment when 28-year-old Dale McLaughlan arrived on the Isle of Man after a 40km journey to visit his partner Jessica Radcliffe on Friday

He had towed the jet ski 70 miles from his home in Irvine, Scotland, to the beach on the Isle of Whithorn, where he made the daring crossing to the Isle of Man. Pictured: McLaughlan on a jet ski

He had towed the jet ski 70 miles from his home in Irvine, Scotland, to the beach on the Isle of Whithorn, where he made the daring crossing to the Isle of Man. Pictured: McLaughlan on a jet ski

Mr McLaughlan arrived on the island with his jet ski in a Scottish Saltire hat

Mr McLaughlan arrived on the island with his jet ski in a Scottish Saltire hat

The roofer only had ten minutes of fuel in his tank when he arrived on the island, a police source said today.

McLaughlan first met his partner on an evening in September after he was given permission to work legally for four weeks on the island, which enforced strict border rules during the pandemic.

After returning to the mainland, McLaughlan tried more than once to return to the island to see his new girlfriend, but authorities refused to give him permission.

So he bought a jet ski and, despite the dangers and lack of experience, set off across the Irish Sea.

Twitter in general was for the romantic roofer, saying he deserved a medal or even a knighthood. But one Isle of Man woman said he was an "idiot" for the trip

Twitter in general was for the romantic roofer, saying he deserved a medal or even a knighthood. But one Isle of Man woman said he was an "idiot" for the trip

Deputy High Bailiff Chris Arrowsmith imprisoned McLaughlan for four weeks, telling him, "Not only have you endangered the Isle of Man population, but you have placed yourself at significant risk."

The court heard that McLaughlan had no experience operating jet skis, and the assistant bailiff pointed out that emergency services may have been called to rescue him.

"This shows the stupidity of his behavior," said the deputy high bailiff.

Dale McLaughlan pictured has been detained for four weeks after admitting to illegally arriving on the island

Dale McLaughlan pictured has been detained for four weeks after admitting to illegally arriving on the island

McLaughlan made the dangerous trip to the Isle of Man to visit the pictured friend Jessica Radcliffe

McLaughlan made the dangerous trip to the Isle of Man to visit the pictured friend Jessica Radcliffe

A graphic shows the 25 mile journey Dale McLaughlan made from Scotland to the Isle of Man in breach of coronavirus restrictions to see his girlfriend

A graphic shows the 25 mile journey Dale McLaughlan made from Scotland to the Isle of Man in breach of coronavirus restrictions to see his girlfriend

The Covid situation on the Isle of Man

Only 373 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Isle of Man since March, of which four are currently active and none are in hospital.

For those on the island, the government has lifted all restrictions on public life.

The website states: “All legal requirements for social distancing in our community were removed on June 15th.

"Businesses are no longer required by law to take steps related to social distancing, such as encouraging employees to work from home or limiting the number of customers in stores."

However, there are still strict border rules in place which the government admits will remain in place "for some time".

The current "Level 4" system allows those living on the island to make non-essential travel beyond, but must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

However, those who do not live on the island must fill out a registration form and obtain an entry permit in order to be admitted.

The court heard that the self-employed roofer from Irvine, Scotland, met his girlfriend at the Douglas bar in September 1886 when he was lawfully on the island for work.

After returning to Scotland, he had twice applied for waivers to travel to the island to see it again, but was denied on both occasions.

Then he took matters into his own hands.

McLaughlan saved up to buy a jet ski, which he did the day before his trip to the Isle of Man, and then hauled it 70 miles from his home to a beach on the Isle of Whithorn.

He set off at around 8 a.m. last Friday morning, expecting the drive to take 40 minutes.

However, due to the bad weather, he didn't arrive in Ramsey until around 1 p.m., prosecutor Rebecca Cubbon told the court.

McLaughlan then followed the signs to go to his girlfriend's home in Anagh Coar.

His partner didn't know what he'd done and believed he was here for work.

The two then went out on Saturday, first to the bar from 1886, where they stayed until 11 p.m., and then to Bordellos, where they stayed until 1.30 a.m. on Sunday.

Miss Cubbon said police "interacted" with the defendant on Regent Street, Douglas on Saturday when the defendant gave his address as his partner's.

There he was arrested by the police the following evening.

He told the police that he had taken a Covid test four days before his trip, which was negative.

He said he was ready to take a second test.

It goes without saying that also came back negative.

In a statement, police said: "The circumstances have been investigated and the public health is satisfied, there is no greater risk to the public."

McLaughlan, wearing a face mask, appeared in court via remote video from the police station.

He pleaded guilty to charges of failure to comply with emergency authority rules by entering the island without a waiver or entry permit.

Defense attorney Deborah Myerscough said her client took the risk of traveling on a jet ski in the Irish Sea, "something most people would never think about even in midsummer."

She said this indicated his state of mind and added, "Obviously he has some mental health issues."

McLaughlan first met his partner on an evening in September after he was given permission to work legally on the island for four weeks

McLaughlan first met his partner on an evening in September after he was given permission to work legally on the island for four weeks

The assistant bailiff said: “The facts are most unusual.

This is not a case of arriving by boat or plane.

& # 39; He took a very real risk. He was completely inexperienced in operating a jet ski.

"He deliberately tried to avoid the discovery and bypass entry requirements to protect the Isle of Man and the people of the Isle of Man."

He said the defendant had no defined mental health status other than major depression resulting from separation from his girlfriend.

Mr. McLaughlan's jet ski was tied up on a beach on the island as his trial was unfolding

Mr. McLaughlan's jet ski was tied up on a beach on the island as his trial was unfolding

He made the daring journey from the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland to Ramsey in the Isle of Man on Friday, despite having never driven such a vehicle before. File image

He made the daring journey from the Isle of Whithorn in Scotland to Ramsey in the Isle of Man on Friday, despite having never driven such a vehicle before. File image

After the four and a half hour drive, he reached the port of Ramsey shown on Friday

After the four and a half hour drive, he reached the port of Ramsey shown on Friday

McLaughlan's mother, Allison, spoke to Daily Record last night at her Irvine home: “I didn't even know about the jet ski. I just don't know why he did it – he could have killed himself. & # 39;

Miss McLaughlan added, "He will miss his children for Christmas."

The Isle of Man's current "Level 4" system allows those living on the island to make non-essential travel beyond but must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.

However, those who do not live on the island must fill out a registration form and obtain an entry permit in order to be admitted.

Since March, only 373 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Isle of Man, of which four are currently active and none are in hospital.