The pilot, who remains unidentified, was caught making a meal stop at Chipping Farm Shop after the farm shared a video documenting the moment on Instagram.
“When your customers are literally ‘flying in’ to collect their favourite ‘Roast Beef in Caramelised Onion Gravy Barms,” the Preston-based farm captioned its clip on Sunday, Feb. 28, which shows the pilot getting their lunch delivered by a staff member while they wait in their chopper.
Not everyone under the post saw eye-to-eye about the pilot’s decision to grab lunch at the farm. The U.K. is currently locked down again due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has issued an order that says “no leisure flying is permitted” for general aviation.
However, it is not clear whether the pilot was on-duty since there is an exception that permits general aviation for “the purposes of work, where it is not reasonably possible to work or provide those services at home.”
Commenters who were against the meal stop expressed they felt it violated national travel guidelines that have urged residents to stay local while health authorities try to bring COVID-19 numbers down.
“Observing COVID rules and staying ‘local’ I see! 80 miles,” one commenter wrote without providing a source to back up the distance they say the pilot traveled, but a report from the BBC claims a local resident tracked the helicopter’s roundtrip from City Airport & Heliport in Salford to Preston with a flight radar website.
Distance aside, an Instagram user who claims to work for the United Kingdom National Health Service said they were upset at the pilot’s decision. In their own words, they wrote: “I am a nhs worker living in a caravan on my driveway to protect me nan living in house. I am disgusted by this.”
Meanwhile, other Instagrammers saw no issue with what the pilot did, especially since they remained in their helicopter.
“I have never known such a fuss about nothing, people should be sticking together and supporting each other at this time,” one commenter reasoned. “There are enough small business’s collapsing due to this debacle, without all the negativity over this one.”
A different Instagram user quipped that critics “wish they could afford a helicopter.”
Chipping Farm Shop did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Local authorities reportedly take issue with the helicopter stunt, according to the BBC.
The Ribble Valley Borough Council member who represents the Chipping ward allegedly told the news outlet the pilot’s helicopter stop “does seem to be a flagrant abuse of the restrictions on travel under the current lockdown rules.”
Police in Greater Manchester are investigating the incident.