Three people have been fined hundreds of pounds by the courts after failing to pay their fixed penalty notices issued by Wiltshire Police for breaching the first national lockdown in the spring.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Wiltshire Police has issued 235 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to people who had failed to adhere to the Government restrictions.
These fines are all then processed nationally, as they are for all police forces, but when someone refuses to pay the fine or does not respond to the official notification, the case is returned to the police to pursue court action.
All three men were found guilty in absence, and the fine, court cost and victim surcharge were set by the court.
• A 35-year-old man from Warminster was issued with an FPN for not having a reasonable excuse for being away from his home address on the evening of 05/04/20. He failed to pay the initial fine, so the court fined him £440, ordered court costs of £90 and a victim surcharge of £44.
• A 25-year-old man from Purton was stopped by police in Swindon on 06/04/20 and did not have a reasonable excuse for leaving his home address. When spoken to by officers he was dismissive of the regulations and then failed to pay his FPN. The court fined him £440, ordered him to pay court costs of £90 and a victim surcharge of £44.
• A 34-year-old man from Warminster was stopped by police officers in Westbury in the early hours of 12/04/20. He had been driving home from his girlfriend’s house, so did not have a reasonable excuse to be out. He failed to pay his FPN, so the court fined him £180, ordered him to pay court costs of £90 and a victim surcharge of £34.
Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, from Wiltshire Police, said he hoped these court cases sent a strong message to those who continued to think the rules did not apply to them during the current second national lockdown. He said:
“Since 26 March 2020, the country has been placed under various restrictions by the Government as part of the ongoing fight to control Covid-19.
“During the spring there was a national lockdown where the rules were very clear and the vast majority of people understood that they were to stay at home unless they had very specific reasons to leave.
“A huge amount of people made a great many sacrifices, missing out on contact with family and friends to ensure they were doing their bit to help protect the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We are now in the same situation again, and I believe the public will be pleased to see that action is being taken against those who have deliberately flouted the rules and broken the law.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Angus Macpherson added:
“Once again the country is back in national lockdown and I hope these court cases show people that both the police and the courts will take action if they either fail to comply with the restrictions or then ignore the FPN issued to them.
“The Prime Minister has made it clear that we are at a critical point in the battle to bring the virus under control, so I would strongly urge you all to make sure you are carefully following the restrictions and helping us keep people safe this winter.”
If you are unsure about the rules of the current lockdown, please visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus