Thirteen men caught playing cards in social club fined £200 for breaching Covid lockdown rules after police raid

THIRTEEN men have each been slapped with a £200 fine after they were caught playing cards when police raided a social club.

Video footage shows the moment several officers found the men breaking the Covid lockdown rules in Hackney.

The police were called to the social club on Stoke Newington Road after they received reports of several men entering the venue.

When officers arrived they found 13 men playing cards.

All 13 men were issued with Fixed Penalty Notices.

New guidance has been issued to chief constables as part of a tough new crackdown on coronavirus lockdown flouters.

Those holding, or involved in holding, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people risk a police-issued fine of £10,000.

Anyone caught by cops without a reasonable excuse could be slapped with a £200 fixed penalty notice for their first offence, with this doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

'VERY DISAPPOINTING'

Chief Inspector Pete Shaw, from the Central East BCU, said: "My officers work incredibly hard, putting themselves at risk of catching this virus to keep those in Hackney & Tower Hamlets safe. 

“It is very disappointing when officers have to deal with groups of people who appear to think that these rules do not apply to them.

"To make it very clear, anyone who is seen to be breaking the rules to hold or attend a house party or an unlicensed music event can expect to be fined by the police and the event shut down. 

“We need to be doing everything we can as a community to try and keep ourselves, our family and friends as safe as possible and to reduce the burden on the NHS.”


'RULES SAVE LIVES'

Yesterday Home Secretary Priti Patel defended cops amid concern over tougher enforcement after two women claimed they were surrounded and fined £200 each for driving five miles to walk in a park. 

Derbyshire Police sparked outrage by fining Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore for walking near Foremark Reservoir.

But Ms Patel said: “Enforcing these rules saves lives. It is as simple as that.

"Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary.”

The crackdown comes amid fears that public compliance with restrictions is lower than the first lockdown in March last year, which successfully reduced the rate of infection. 

What you could be fined for

You could face a fine for:

  • Being out of your home without a reasonable excuse as below
  • Travelling abroad or going on holiday during the lockdown period – as this is not a reasonable excuse
  • Breaking Covid rules by having others outside your household inside your home
  • Meeting people outside your household outside – unless it's one person for exercise alone
  • Hosting a gathering – this could see you get a fine of up to £10,000
  • Businesses or venues can be fined up to £10,000 too for continuing to operate despite being ordered to shut
  • Not wearing a face covering on public transport or in shops

Reasonable excuses for leaving your home include:

  • Work: If you have to go to work as you really can't work from home, this will be allowed. Key workers such as those who work for the police, or NHS, will be permitted to do so
  • School: only for the kids of key workers or vulnerable pupils
  • Exercise: Boris will continue to allow unlimited exercise outdoors. That means people can carry on going for walks, runs and other forms of exercise outdoors if they wish. You can do that with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household
  • Food, drink & supplies: People will still be allowed out to collect food and drink – such as at the supermarket, or take-aways
  • Medical appointments: Everyone will be urged to continue to attend hospital and doctor appointments if they need to
  • To escape injury or harm; those at risk of harm are allowed to leave their current home and move elsewhere
  • To provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer: people will still be allowed to travel to care for people who need it, or attend volunteer work too

And West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson had last week urged the government to give police powers of entry to help “enforce the new regulations more easily”.

Mr Jamieson said: “For the small minority of people who refuse entry to police officers and obstruct their work, the power of entry would seem to be a useful tool.

“I have raised this issue with the policing minister previously and clarity on the power of entry would help police officers enforce the new regulations more easily.”

Source: Read Full Article