POLICE in England have handed out 3,203 lockdown fines in under three weeks – with people in Lancashire being the worst offenders.
And while officials revealed that nearly 40 penalties had been mistakenly issued to children – it emerged that pensioners as old as 100 had been fined for breaching social distancing guidelines.
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Cops across the UK have been told to enforce the rules which have been put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus – which has killed more than 12,000 people.
The guidelines are that Brits should only leave the house for medical reasons, to buy food, to exercise or to go to work if they cannot do so from home.
Between March 27 and April 13, more than 3,000 £60 fines – which are reduced to £30 when paid within two weeks – were handed out as parts of the country basked in a mini heatwave.
LAYING DOWN THE LAW
In Lancashire, cops handed out 380 penalties to those who breached the government’s guidelines.
Other badly behaved areas included Devon & Cornwall (169), South Yorkshire (118), Sussex (163), Thames Valley (219) and West Yorkshire (121).
According to the Metropolitan Police, 81 fines were handed out in London over the two-and-a-half week period.
British Transport Police also issued 148 penalties.
Over the sun-drenched Easter weekend, 290 were handed in Wales.
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, but only where they cannot work from home
Police admitted that nearly 40 notices were handed out to under-18s despite the law prohibiting children from being fined.
A total of 26 fines were given to people aged 65 to 100.
The £60 fines can be doubled with each subsequent offence and officers have been empowered to arrest those who continually flout the directives.
Police said that 83 people were brought straight to court for allegedly breaking the rules.
A number of mistakes have been made in applying the sweeping new laws.
British Transport Police wrongly fined a 41-year-old woman £660, while the Metropolitan Police admitted a 21-year-old man was wrongly convicted and fined and the charge has since been set aside.
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police apologised after a man was threatened with spray and arrested as he dropped off food for vulnerable family members.
South Yorkshire Police apologised for a “well-intentioned but ill-informed” exchange in which an officer appeared to tell a family they were not allowed to play in their own front garden.
And Cambridge Police insisted it was not monitoring what people are buying from supermarkets following comments by an “over exuberant officer” on non-essential shopping aisles.
National Police Chiefs Council chairman Martin Hewitt admitted there had been a “very small number” of errors but insisted “tens and tens of thousands” of encounters with the police had been appropriate.
The new laws came in at “great speed” and police officers were “trying to do their best in very, very difficult and unusual circumstances.”
He said: “We will say sorry if we got it wrong.
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“Of course there have been mistakes and I think we have been very quick to come forward when we have made mistakes.
“But I would like to think that the public would have some recognition of the fact that this is legislation that came in at high speed a few weeks ago, is highly, highly unusual and we are having to adapt to that across the whole of the service.
“Whenever there have been any incidents where something was done that was not how it should have been done we will rectify that.
“I think we have been absolutely clear and upfront about rectifying any mistakes that we have made.”