Large parties broken up, illegal day-trips and illicit car meets – this is just a snippet of Covid-19 breaches officers have had to deal with over a weekend.
A group of dog walkers who drove more than 25 miles to exercise, party-goers in Birmingham and 14 people – including a nurse – were stopped at a car meet in Worcestershire.
Police forces across the West Midlands, including West Mercia and Warwickshire, have issued fines to people breaching lockdown rules.
In Edgmond, cops fined a group of dog owners after travelling 25 miles to a Shropshire village to walk their pets on Sunday, January 17.
West Mercia Police officers found the group did not live together, nor were part of a bubble, and hit them with a penalty for Covid breaches.
A nurse was one of 14 people fined in Worcestershire after ‘car enthusiasts’ attended an illegal car meeting.
The gathering in Droitwich and Worcester on January 17 involved street racing and was in breach of the coronavirus lockdown rules.
They will all have received a minimum £200 for a first offence.
Two men from Birmingham were also fined by police after travelling to Burton-upon-Trent on Monday, January 18.
The pair were fined by cops from Staffordshire Police as officers discovered they failed to have a “reasonable excuse”.
Warwickshire Police say three people have been reported for fines after the two separate incidents.
Two people were reported over the gathering in Coronation Avenue, Polesworth on January 15, while a man was reported for being in another house and breaking the government guidelines in Milner Drive, Shuttington, onJanuary 16.
Officers also broke up the gathering which was booked online and being held inside a flat in Mason Way, Edgbaston, last Friday (January 15).
Police discovered the illegal gathering at around 8pm. They issued half a dozen notices to leave and informed the owner that ‘further action would be taken if the property is used to host parties again during lockdown’.
Officers arrested 11 protesters and fined three as they tried to gather in Birmingham city centre on January 16 for a planned rally.
Lockdown rules in England specify people must stay at home and only go out for certain reasons.
It is illegal to leave home without a “reasonable excuse”. If you don’t have one, police can fine you £200 for a first offence – doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
You are not allowed to leave home to meet people socially if you don’t live together, or have a support bubble together.
Exercise outdoors once a day is also a “reasonable excuse” for leaving home.
Home secretary Priti Patel said that clamping down on lockdown rule breakers will get coronavirus back under control.
She acknowledged that the number of coronavirus cases was still too high and warned people that their “actions have consequences” as she urged them to comply with the legislation or face a fine.
“The focus has to be on compliance and enforcement of the regulations and the rules as they stand,” she told the PA news agency.
“You can only leave your home for a limited number of reasons and police are enforcing that rigidly, stringently across the country.
“That has been illustrated in the number of fines over the weekend, in the last week, the number of house parties, UMEs and also members of the public who have been spoken to by the police.
“That will continue and actually it’s by enforcing the rules, the public following the rules, that we will get the R value down.”