Man fined for travelling to dye friend's hair 'didn't know we were in lockdown'

Two police officers walk through Worthing town centre as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 9,000 fines have been issued for flouting coronavirus lockdown rules. (Picture: PA)

A man fined for travelling to a friend’s house to dye their hair claimed he didn’t know lockdown restrictions were in place, police have revealed.

The incident, which happened in the coastal town of Whitehaven in West Cumbria on April 19, was among 107 fixed penalty noticed issue by Cumbria Police for people flouting lockdown rules.

Another included a man from Manchester who drove to Keswick for a planned 20-minute walk, said the force, while Greater Manchester Police said they had stopped four young men who had travelled from Yorkshire to get a burger.

The individual tales come as police figures show that more than 9,000 fines have been issued across England and Wales for people breaking lockdown restrictions.

Data released by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) on Thursday showed that 8,877 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were recorded by forces in England between March 27 and April 27, with 299 issued in Wales in the same period.

Of the 43 regional police forces in England and Wales, Thames Valley Police recorded the highest number of fines at 649, while Warwickshire issued the fewest with just 22.

In England, 391 fines were for repeat offenders, with one person fined six times, three people fined five times and six people fined four times.

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Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen said reports of anti-social behaviour more than doubled in the four weeks to April 26 compared to last year - going from 106,000 to 215,000 - with the rise believed to be linked to social distancing breaches.

But she said enforcement of the government’s restriction of movement regulations is still relatively low with 194,000 coronavirus-related reports to police and just 0.02% of the population issued with a fine.

She said younger people were more likely to breach the lockdown rules, with figures showing around eight out of 10 people fined were men, a third were aged between 18-24 and another third aged 25-34.

“The vast majority of the fines that we’re seeing enforced are people actually not complying, being out in public spaces where they don’t have a reasonable excuse to do so, not listening to the officers’ advice in respect of engaging and explaining to the extent where the officer then has to issue a ticket to secure compliance,” she said.

“There are some definite correlations when it gets hot and when it is good weather where we see troublesome spots, whether that’s beaches or whether that’s countryside, rural communities where people want to go and walk.

“We definitely have seen that when we’ve had hot weather, but on the whole, we are seeing, as soon as officers arrive as soon as they engage and explain, the vast, vast majority of the public are adhering to the rules.”

Police pass a family out walking on Primrose Hill, London, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Police have been given powers to issue fines if people breach lockdown restrictions. (Picture: PA)

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt has also warned that police face a different challenge when lockdown regulations are relaxed and more people are allowed out of their homes.

“There’s an inevitability that as the weeks progress, this is harder for people and we are moving into warmer weather and I think everyone would accept that,” he said.

“I think it’s inevitable that people will get restless.This is now quite an extended period of time. This is hard on everybody adapting their lives.

“We would assess that over the weekend we sensed across the country a little bit more traffic on the roads and a few more people out and about.

“But having said all of that, we are still seeing the same level of compliance from people.”

Police have been given powers to hand out a £60 penalty, that is reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks, for breaches of the lockdown rules, with the fine doubled for each repeat offence up to a £960 maximum.

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