Covid rule breaker drove to Cotswolds because 'it was very hard to go shopping in London'

1 February 2021, 12:48 | Updated: 2 February 2021, 09:20

Police across England had a busy weekend clamping down on Covid rule breakers
Police across England had a busy weekend clamping down on Covid rule breakers. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

A driver who travelled from London to the Cotswolds because "it was very hard to go shopping” in the capital has been fined for breaking lockdown rules, police said.

It comes as officers across England issued fines to people attending a gym, a hotel and a house party over the weekend amid new harsher coronavirus regulations.

Cotswolds Police wrote on Twitter: “Covid ticket handed out in Lower Slaughter. The drivers [sic] excuse for the 300 mile round trip was that it was very hard to go shopping in London."

READ MORE: More than 70 people facing fines after lockdown-breaching boat party

READ MORE: £800 Covid house party fine comes into force

They added the hastag #£200DayOut, suggesting the driver would now be receiving a £200 fine.

In another tweet, the force said: “We thought it was supposed to be lockdown? Apparently not in Bourton?! 2 covid tickets handed out to tourists from London and mutliple warnings given.”

Elsewhere, Essex Police said 18 "reckless revellers" were fined almost £15,000 after officers interrupted a house party on Saturday, while in Merseyside, police found about 200 people partying in a hotel in the early hours of Sunday and broke up a gathering of 20 people in a gym on Saturday night.

A spokesman for Essex Police said officers attended a house in Epping Forest at about 5pm on Saturday.

When they arrived they were initially refused entry by people inside who claimed to be making a music video.

There were 18 people inside the property, 17 from London and one from Essex, who were fined £800 each following the introduction of higher penalties, the force said.

Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills added: "These selfish individuals not only have no regard for their own safety, but they clearly didn't give a second thought for the safety of the local community, the police officers who had to attend to deal with their reckless behaviour or the NHS who are under unbelievable pressure."

In Merseyside, police issued fixed penalty notices to 19 people who were found in Shred Fast Gym in Aintree at 10.30pm on Saturday.

The force, which has reported the business owner to the local authority, said those attending were not wearing PPE or social distancing and had travelled from areas including Billinge, Widnes, Wirral and Southport.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Carden wrote on Twitter: "Twenty people on yoga mats burning pieces of paper with negative thoughts written on them have now been given new pieces of paper by @MerseyPolice with the words 'fixed penalty notice' printed on them.

"Seriously, if we don't back the 'lockdown' we are all in it for longer."

At 3.15am, officers found around 200 people at the Richmond Hotel in Liverpool city centre where four parties were going on, the force said.

A police spokesman said 13 fixed penalty notices were issued, 11 documented warnings were given and everyone who was not a legitimate guest at the hotel was removed.

A woman was arrested on suspicion of breaching coronavirus legislation and two counts of assaulting a constable and a man was arrested as he was wanted, the force said.

Chief Superintendent Matt Boyle added: "This sort of behaviour is unbelievable and unacceptable and officers should not be confronted with abuse and violence when attempting to uphold the law, which most people are rightly abiding by."

In London, 72 people were reported for the consideration of fixed penalty notices of £800 when officers were called to a party on a moored boat in North Acton, Ealing, shortly after 11pm on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police said.

A force spokesman said the organiser of the event, which appeared to have been arranged on social media, was identified and reported for consideration of a £10,000 fixed penalty notice.

The latest coronavirus regulations in England, which came into force at 5pm on Friday, include fines of £800 for people caught at house parties with groups of more than 15 people and will double after each offence, up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offenders.

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