Frustrated police officers are still reporting numerous outrageous breaches of coronavirus rules over a month into the third national lockdown.
As the government fights to lower infections and ramp up vaccinations, rule flouter are being fined hundreds of pounds after being caught playing golf in groups, hosting house parties and driving long distances for ‘fried chicken’.
In one shocking case, a couple were fined after their 280-mile trip to the seaside sparked a full-scale coastguard search operation in a raging storm.
The pair from London left their car unattended by a Norfolk beach for four hours, causing concern amongst the emergency services with the severe weather.
Coastwatch volunteers spotted the walkers parking their car – however when they failed to return hours later the alarm was raised.
Four different coastguard boats headed into the water – in the worst conditions seen for 20 years – as Storm Darcy rolled in from the North Sea on Saturday afternoon.
An idiotic couple were fined after their 280-mile seaside trip sparked a full-scale coastguard search operation in a raging storm
Crews started scouring the water, with 20 ft waves crashing against the boats and a helicopter was also scrambled.
When the couple were eventually found they said they had been for a walk, but it turned out they had driven to the seaside village of Winterton, Norfolk, from London.
Their six-hour round trip from central London, covering 280 miles, is banned under coronavirus rules which urge people to stay local.
Norfolk Police took a dim view of the couple’s antics and fined them both.
Four different coastguard boats headed into the water as Storm Darcy rolled in on Saturday afternoon to search for the couple who could not be immediately located
A spokesperson said: ‘It was established the couple had travelled from London earlier in the day and both were given a fixed penalty notices for breaching lockdown rules.’
Independent Caister Coastguard chairman Paul Garrod said it was the worst weather he had seen in 20 years.
He explained: ‘We were paged at 4.20pm on Saturday, launched with six crew members. Once we got to Winterton, we had to start a shoreline search. There were 20ft rolling waves. It’s the worst I’ve seen in 20-odd years, because we were so close into shore. It was horrendous.’
HM Coastguard Winterton issued a weather warning about the incident, saying: ‘With the bad weather forecast over the next few days we ask you all to take extreme care when visiting the coast.
‘Remember the wind chill factor is many degrees less than the temperature, winds and waves may cause damage to coastlines.’
The couple were eventually found – and said they had been for a walk at the seaside village of Winterton, Norfolk, after driving up from London. Police took a dim view of their actions and fined them
Locals took a dim view of the pair’s 280-mile round trip for a seaside walk, with Neil Cruickshank commenting: ‘To drive long distances to our beaches for a walk is bad enough, but to do it in this weather and then involve the emergency services is total ignorance.
‘These people should be very heavily fined and pay costs for call out.’
Ron Lovick commented: ‘Well done to all the teams involved. Now the twonks need to be find heavily and made to pay for the cost of services.
Between March 27, 2020, and January 17, 2021, more than 42,000 fines were issued across England and Wales, with four in five were given to people aged between 18 and 39.
The National Police Chief’s Council (NPCC) said increased patrols by officers had driven the increase.
The NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt reported police forces are quicker to enforce fines where there has been an obvious breach of the rules.
NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said increased patrols by officers had driven an increase in fines of lockdown flouters
He said: ‘This seriously dangerous stage of the virus and national lockdown have led to more proactive patrols by forces and more fixed penalty notices have been issued as a result.’
In another incident, police in North Wales are investigating a breach of rules after hotel staff apparently held a ‘leaving party’ for one the employees.
The gathering is understood to have taken place at Premier Inn’s Holyhead site on Anglesey, on Friday, January 29 to mark the departure of one of the staff members.
Workers at the hotel have been accused of hugging and cheering at the party on January 29.
Police in North Wales are investigating a breach of rules after hotel staff apparently held a ‘leaving party’ for one the employees, and were seen posing for a photo at a Premier Inn on Anglesey
Lockdown golfers hit a bogey with police
Five golfers have been fined £200 each after being caught by ‘astounded’ police… playing a round on a locked-down course.
The five, all in their 20s and 30s, were found playing on Bowring Park Golf Course in Huyton, Merseyside, on Sunday afternoon.
They were were each issued with £200 fixed penalty notices for breaching Covid regulations, Merseyside Police said.
Councillor Shelley Powell said she was ‘astounded’ that ‘people think they can break the rules and get away with it’.
Ms Powell, Knowsley Council’s cabinet member for communities and neighbourhoods, said: ‘The rules can’t be clearer. Stay at home unless it is for essential purposes such as to attend work or school.
‘Bowring Park Golf course is closed in order to adhere to the current lockdown rules.
‘So not only have the five golfers broken lockdown rules, they are also trespassing on the course.’
Pictures from the night were passed to North Wales Live and appear to show hotel workers come together for a photograph and seemingly not maintain social distancing.
All Premier Inn hotels in Wales are currently closed as per Welsh Government guidance, which prohibits such gatherings.
A spokesperson for Premier Inn said: ‘Our Holyhead hotel is currently closed in line with current government guidance.
‘We have clear safety procedures in place for our team members to follow. We are investigating the circumstances surrounding this gathering and speaking with the team members involved.’
Across the border in England, two men and a 15-year-old boy were arrested and others fined for Covid-19 breaches after an illegal house party was broken up.
Merseyside Police were called to an address on Breccia Gardens, St Helens, following reports of a gathering at around 8.30pm on Friday.
The officers said they were ‘astonished’ to arrive at the scene to find people attending the party, describing their actions as ‘selfish’.
Fines were issued to those inside, but one man refused to leave the area and obstructed officers. Following a number of warnings, he was detained and taken to a police station for questioning.
Two more people initially left the address after being issued with fines but returned and were arrested.
And in Surrey, two ‘lovesick Romeos’ were slapped with £200 Covid fines after travelling cross-country to meet up with their girlfriends for an early Valentine’s date.
The romantic fools from Essex had driven more than 50 miles in a black Mercedes to Chertsey, Surrey to see the women.
They told police they had met up in a car park under the cloak of darkness ‘because they hadn’t seen each other for so long’.
Officers found all four of them sitting inside the vehicle in the Gogmore Farm car park.
In Surrey, two ‘lovesick Romeos’ were slapped with £200 Covid fines after travelling cross-country to meet up with their girlfriends for an early Valentine’s date
They issued £200 fines to each of them and reminded them ‘we all miss our loved ones but we have to follow the guidelines to keep them safe’.
The force said: ‘The occupants in this Mercedes had driven from Essex to meet their girlfriends in Chertsey and all four were sitting in the car together in Gogmore car park.
‘They said they had met up because they hadn’t seen each other for so long.
‘They were all given £200 Covid fines and reminded that we all miss our loved ones, but we have to follow the guidelines to keep them safe.’
Followers poked fun at the location of the date, with Claudia Huseyin replying: ‘Gogmore car park, how romantic.’
Helen Mabbott added: ‘What is wrong with people!! Glad they got fines!’