Police fine four men after breaking up 20-man football match in Kent

3 February 2021, 19:42

Covid fines issued as a group of 20 played football on locked pitch

By Maddie Goodfellow

Police in Kent have fined four men found breaking lockdown rules by playing a game of football involving more than 20 people.

The match, which was held in Dartford, had upwards of 20 men involved and led to fines being issued for breach of lockdown.

The men had accessed the pitch via a hole in a fence of Green Road, Dartford, one Sunday afternoon.

Police body camera footage shows several of the men running as they see officers approaching, but some had tried to return to the pitch to collect their belongings, where they were met by police and fined.

Some of the men had travelled from other counties to take part in the match.

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The men were issued with fixed penalty notices
The men were issued with fixed penalty notices. Picture: Kent Police

In the footage a police officer can be heard asking: "What's going on chaps?" and one of the men responds: "We left something on the pitch."

The officer then tells the men they will be receiving fixed penalty notices, explaining: "You do know you're not allowed to be out at the moment, we're in a national lockdown."

When asked where they are from, one man tells police he's from Chorley, in Lancashire, to which an officer responds in disbelief, saying: "Come on, you're not even in the right county."

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It is one of a series of lockdown-breaking incidents that Kent Police have revealed to the public.

Nearly 1,000 fines have been issued by Kent Police since January 1, with other breaches including an an unofficial football match for more than 20 people on Sunday.

It comes as the county faces increased testing amid concerns over variants of Covid-19.

Assistant Chief Constable, Claire Nix said: "Whilst it is encouraging that the rate of infection is falling and more people are being vaccinated - now is not the time to drop our guard and be complacent, we are not yet at the stage where lockdown can be relaxed.

"I would like to thank those residents who are doing the right thing and following the guidelines, it is a difficult time for everyone and I appreciate it is frustrating when you witnesses or learn of people breaching the guidelines - this selfish behaviour puts others in harms way.

"We will not hesitate in taking action against those who blatantly ignore lockdown measures and put some of the most vulnerable members of our community at risk."

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