Video of woman being ‘arrested for sitting on a bench’ was ‘STAGE-MANAGED’

A video of a woman apparently being arrested for sitting on a bench was ‘staged-managed’ by anti-lockdown protesters, Dorset Police said.

Footage, which has been shared widely online, shows three police officers surrounding a woman in Bournemouth for allegedly leaving her house more than once in a day.

The clip then shows a woman being handcuffed and led away by officers as she repeatedly tells them: ‘I was sitting on a bench’.  

But police believe the video was ‘planned, stage-managed and recorded’ by members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were present in the town on Saturday.

The force said three people were arrested following the demonstrations, after refusing to give their details to officers who attempted to issue them with fines for breaching coronavirus regulations.

Dorset Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan said: ‘We believe this video was planned, stage-managed and recorded by members of the protest group who turned up in multiple areas, several of whom refused to engage and provide their details.

In other developments:

  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced the rollout of two million fast-result ‘lateral flow’ tests for anyone in England who needs to leave their home for work, in a bid to identify the estimated one in three asymptomatic ‘silent spreaders’;
  • Downing Street is expected to delay local elections from May until the autumn because of the disruption caused by the pandemic;
  • An expert study concluded there is no clear evidence that closing schools can reduce the spread of coronavirus, despite the Government’s claim on Tuesday that it had no choice but to shut the education system down;
  • Some state school heads were revealed to be blocking live online lessons on the grounds that it was an invasion of teachers’ privacy, as Tory MPs called on Education Secretary Gavin Williamson to emulate Margaret Thatcher’s tough approach to striking miners in the 1980s in dealing with militant teaching unions;
  • Scientists advising the Government claimed that lockdown measures in England need to be more strict – with some calling for ‘Asian-style’ curbs – as current rules were ‘still allowing a lot of activity which is spreading the virus’.
Footage emerged showing three police officers surrounding a woman for allegedly leaving her house more than once in a day in Bournemouth

Footage emerged showing three police officers surrounding a woman for allegedly leaving her house more than once in a day in Bournemouth

Another four officers appear to arrest a different woman for what she claims was 'sitting on a bench' on the seafront

Another four officers appear to arrest a different woman for what she claims was 'sitting on a bench' on the seafront

Footage emerged showing three police officers surrounding a woman for allegedly leaving her house more than once in a day (left). Another four officers appear to arrest a different woman for what she claims was ‘sitting on a bench’ on the seafront in Bournemouth (right)

‘If people refuse to give their details in such circumstances then it leaves officers with little option but to arrest until the details are established.

‘Our officers would only arrest as a last resort.’

Two of those detained were later ‘de-arrested’ after supplying officers with their details and were subsequently fined, police said.

A third person was also released and fined after their details were verified in custody.

The force said at least seven fixed penalty notices were issued to those who breached lockdown rules on the day.

But police believe the clip (pictured) was 'planned, stage-managed and recorded' by members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were present in the town on Saturday

But police believe the clip (pictured) was 'planned, stage-managed and recorded' by members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were present in the town on Saturday

The force said three people were arrested following the demonstrations, after refusing to give their details to officers who attempted to issue them with fines for breaching coronavirus regulations

The force said three people were arrested following the demonstrations, after refusing to give their details to officers who attempted to issue them with fines for breaching coronavirus regulations

But police believe the clip (pictured) was ‘planned, stage-managed and recorded’ by members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were present in the town on Saturday

Police made repeated attempts to contact the protest organisers to request that it did not go ahead, but were unsuccessful, Mr Callaghan said.

‘It was clear that the group were deliberately organising their activities, walking around in twos and then trying to come together in a ‘flash mob’ style approach, as they have done previously,’ he said in a statement.

‘This activity went on for a couple of hours.’

Some of the protesters were found to have remained in the area for a ‘prolonged period of time’, despite being warned by police.

Mr Callaghan said some of those taking part had also travelled ‘considerably’ from outside the Dorset area.

The woman - wearing glasses and a long red coat - says: 'I was sitting on a bench. I was sitting on a bench' as she is cuffed by officers

The woman - wearing glasses and a long red coat - says: 'I was sitting on a bench. I was sitting on a bench' as she is cuffed by officers

The woman – wearing glasses and a long red coat – says: ‘I was sitting on a bench. I was sitting on a bench’ as she is cuffed by officers

In the clip, one woman was surrounded by three police who claimed she had left her house more than once.

The woman – who is joined by an elderly man – bursts into tears as the police interrogate her over the alleged lockdown violation. 

One officer tells the first woman: ‘At the moment you’re allowed out for exercise once a day.

‘You’ve been filmed today in the town centre and around here and walking up and down.’

Four officers lead her away in handcuffs (pictured) while other pedestrians ask why they feel it is necessary

Four officers lead her away in handcuffs (pictured) while other pedestrians ask why they feel it is necessary

Four officers lead her away in handcuffs (pictured) while other pedestrians ask why they feel it is necessary

Another officer shows her the rules she was said to have broken on a mobile phone but she interrupts when she hears the words ‘anti-social manner’.

She asks: ‘Am I acting in an anti-social manner.’ The man with her asks: ‘What’s anti-social.’

The officer, who was wearing a face covering, continues but the woman starts crying and wipes her eyes.

She says: ‘How have I acted anti-socially, I was sat on a bench having a cup of coffee, that is not anti-social.’

The policewoman says ‘you’re acting anti-social now’, to which the woman replies: ‘Well yes, you’re provoking me.’

They continue to argue and the woman refuses to give the officer her details when asked.

Meanwhile the cameraman walks over to another part of the promenade where a woman is being put into handcuffs.

The filmer asks: ‘What’s going on, why are you putting her hands behind her back? What are you doing?’

The woman – wearing glasses and a long red coat – says: ‘I was sitting on a bench. I was sitting on a bench.’

Four officers lead her away in handcuffs while other pedestrians ask why they feel it is necessary.

The footage comes to an end as the second woman is led to a police van while the first continues to bicker with the police.

Dorset Police has been approached for comment.

So much for staying at home! Crowds of people head to beaches and town centres despite Boris Johnson begging families to stay at home as Covid deaths hit 563 – the deadliest Sunday in eight months

By David Wilcock, Whitehall Correspondent and James Gant and Isabella Nikolic For Mailonline

Hordes of people were seen flocking to beaches and town centres today despite Boris Johnson’s pleas for families to stay at home as Britain records 563 deaths – the highest Sunday toll in eight months. 

Weekend walkers were spotted strolling along a packed Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside this afternoon, leaving carparks full to the brim.

New Government guidelines dictate that daily exercise must be taken in one’s local area – but it is unclear how far today’s visitors came for a welcome breath of fresh air. 

In Liverpool, football fans packed together behind barriers to catch a glimpse of the players heading into the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match today. 

None of the crowd were socially distanced, despite police officers watching on. 

And Dovestones Reservoir in Oldham was ‘swamped’ with visitors, leaving drivers forced to park on the double yellow lines landing them with fines.

Photos shared to social media showed a traffic officer slapping yellow notices on a number of cars parked on the side of the road.

And in London masses of people were seen taking to Hampstead high street. 

Long queues of people wrapped up warm were seen coming from food stalls and cafes in the area.

Meanwhile in Derbyshire, mountain rescue had to save a group of plane-crash enthusiasts who got stuck in deep snow on a five-hour walk.

The group – all from Manchester – broke lockdown to hunt for the B-29 crash site in Bleaklow Moor when one member became too tired to carry on.

And in Prestatyn, Wales, police stopped a learner driver who’d driven an uninsured car 60 miles from Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, to go to the beach in North Wales.  

What is a ‘reasonable excuse’ for going outside?

Under the rules in England, you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice). You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes: 

  • Work – you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home
  • Volunteering – you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • Essential activities – you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating
  • Education and childcare – you can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend. 
  • Meeting others and care – you can leave home to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people
  • Exercise – you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble, and not outside your local area. The Government advises you should only leave for exercise once a day, but the law does not put a limit on this. 
  • Medical reasons – you can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies
  • Harm and compassionate visits – you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). 
  • You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment
  • Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment
  • Communal worship and life events – You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony.

There are further reasonable excuses. 

For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum. In Scotland, coronavirus legislation gives police the power to force entry into people’s homes if they have a ‘reasonable suspicion’ rules are being broken.  However, in England, they can only enter in ‘exceptional circumstances’, which includes if they believe someone inside is infectious.  Otherwise, they will require a warrant. 

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Under the current rules in England, people must not leave their home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ – which includes exercise. 

Citizens are allowed to exercise with one other person or with their household or support bubble, but not outside their local area. 

It is unclear whether everyone who flocked to Britain’s countryside hotspots live locally or had to drive from afar. 

Their countryside excursions came the same day Britain today announced a further 563 Covid deaths – the third deadliest Sunday of the entire pandemic. 

The last time so many deaths were announced on a Sunday was on April 12, when 657 were recorded. 

Infections also continue to be high with 54,940 announced today, marking the thirteenth day in a row with daily cases above the 50,000 mark.

It comes as it was revealed that police arrested a 19-year-old for planning to hold a suspected unlicensed music event. 

The teenager advertised a ‘Bristol Freerave’ on social media at an undisclosed location.  

He has since been released under investigation.

Avon and Somerset police said 38 fixed penalty notices for breaches of Covid regulations were issued, while around 30 minors were given advice by officers.

A further arrest was made in connection with a drink driving offence and a vehicle was seized for having no insurance.  

It comes as the UK reported the highest number of hospital deaths on a Sunday in eight months.

It is an increase of 50 deaths compared with last Sunday’s reporting, and an increase of 197 deaths compared with December 27.   

This number is a huge leap compared to previous Sundays when 448 were recorded on January 3 and 301 on December 27.

Today’s death toll is the highest Sunday increase since May 3.

The grim figure brings the total number of UK coronavirus deaths to 81,431.  

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies for deaths where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate, together with additional data on deaths that have occurred in recent days, show there have now been 97,000 deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Sunday, there had been a further 54,940 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 3,072,349.  

Priti Patel today defended police as they began strict application of Covid rules that includes £200 fines and less tolerance for rule-breakers. 

The Home Secretary warned that officers ‘will not hesitate’ to take action because the increasing number of new Covid-19 cases proved there was a need for ‘strong enforcement’ in cases where people were clearly breaking the rules.      

Police tactics have come in for scrutiny after Derbyshire Police handed out £200 fines to two women who drove separately to go for a walk at a remote beauty spot situated around five miles from their homes. 

It comes as footage emerged showing three police officers surrounding a woman for allegedly leaving her house more than once in a day.

Another four officers appear to arrest a different woman for what she claims was ‘sitting on a bench’ on the seafront in Bournemouth.

Forces across England have urged people to stay home and avoid travelling as they continue to fine Covid rule-breakers.

Several constabularies issued the message on Saturday as doctors said pressure on the NHS from coronavirus could get worse in the coming weeks.

Ms Patel said: ‘Our police officers are working tirelessly to keep us safe. Not only are they continuing to take criminals off our streets, but they are also playing a crucial role in controlling the spread of the virus.

‘The vast majority of the public have supported this huge national effort and followed the rules.

‘But the tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country’s recovery from this deadly virus.

Crowds of people were seen flocking to beaches and town centres today despite Boris Johnson's pleas for families to stay at home as coronavirus hospital deaths hit 563 - the highest Sunday toll in eight months. Pictured: Visitors on Tynemouth Longsands beach

Crowds of people were seen flocking to beaches and town centres today despite Boris Johnson's pleas for families to stay at home as coronavirus hospital deaths hit 563 - the highest Sunday toll in eight months. Pictured: Visitors on Tynemouth Longsands beach

Crowds of people were seen flocking to beaches and town centres today despite Boris Johnson’s pleas for families to stay at home as coronavirus hospital deaths hit 563 – the highest Sunday toll in eight months. Pictured: Visitors on Tynemouth Longsands beach

Fans show their support with no social distancing as they wait outside the stadium as the Spurs team coach arrives

Fans show their support with no social distancing as they wait outside the stadium as the Spurs team coach arrives

Fans show their support with no social distancing as they wait outside the stadium as the Spurs team coach arrives

Fans take photographs in front of police officers as they wait outside Rosset Park stadium ahead of the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match today

Fans take photographs in front of police officers as they wait outside Rosset Park stadium ahead of the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match today

Fans take photographs in front of police officers as they wait outside Rosset Park stadium ahead of the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match today

Hordes of visitors were spotted having a stroll on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside. Car parks in the area were packed as families descended on the coastal beauty spot for a Sunday walk

Hordes of visitors were spotted having a stroll on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside. Car parks in the area were packed as families descended on the coastal beauty spot for a Sunday walk

Hordes of visitors were spotted having a stroll on Tynemouth Longsands beach in North Tyneside. Car parks in the area were packed as families descended on the coastal beauty spot for a Sunday walk

Flocks of people descended on to the beach in Tyneside today

Flocks of people descended on to the beach in Tyneside today

Flocks of people descended on to the beach in Tyneside today 

Dovestones Reservoir in Oldham was 'swamped' with visitors today as drivers were slapped with fines for parking on double yellow lines as they flocked to see the beauty-spot

Dovestones Reservoir in Oldham was 'swamped' with visitors today as drivers were slapped with fines for parking on double yellow lines as they flocked to see the beauty-spot

Dovestones Reservoir in Oldham was ‘swamped’ with visitors today as drivers were slapped with fines for parking on double yellow lines as they flocked to see the beauty-spot

Car parks near the beach in Tyneside were at full capacity - although it is unclear whether all visitors were from the local area

Car parks near the beach in Tyneside were at full capacity - although it is unclear whether all visitors were from the local area

Car parks near the beach in Tyneside were at full capacity – although it is unclear whether all visitors were from the local area

And in London, masses of people were seen taking to Hampstead high street. Long queues of people wrapped up warm were seen coming from food stalls and cafes in the area

And in London, masses of people were seen taking to Hampstead high street. Long queues of people wrapped up warm were seen coming from food stalls and cafes in the area

And in London, masses of people were seen taking to Hampstead high street. Long queues of people wrapped up warm were seen coming from food stalls and cafes in the area

People queue up for crepes in freezing temperatures on Hampstead high street

People queue up for crepes in freezing temperatures on Hampstead high street

People queue up for crepes in freezing temperatures on Hampstead high street 

People in Hampstead queue outside food stalls on Sunday

People in Hampstead queue outside food stalls on Sunday

People in Hampstead queue outside food stalls on Sunday 

A mounted policeman speaks to a passerby as she walks through Hyde Park on Sunday

A mounted policeman speaks to a passerby as she walks through Hyde Park on Sunday

A mounted policeman speaks to a passerby as she walks through Hyde Park on Sunday 

People in Hampstead queue outside a cafe while taking their daily allowance for exercise

People in Hampstead queue outside a cafe while taking their daily allowance for exercise

People in Hampstead queue outside a cafe while taking their daily allowance for exercise 

People were spotted walking around Hampstead today

People were spotted walking around Hampstead today

People were spotted walking around Hampstead today 

Lots of people took to the beach for a walk in North Tyneside today

Lots of people took to the beach for a walk in North Tyneside today

Lots of people took to the beach for a walk in North Tyneside today 

A police officer talks to a man sitting on a bench in Hyde Park

A police officer talks to a man sitting on a bench in Hyde Park

A police officer talks to a man sitting on a bench in Hyde Park 

Police speak to people who had been seated on a bench in Hyde Park today

Police speak to people who had been seated on a bench in Hyde Park today

Police speak to people who had been seated on a bench in Hyde Park today 

A policeman cycles through Hyde Park as people take their daily exercise

A policeman cycles through Hyde Park as people take their daily exercise

A policeman cycles through Hyde Park as people take their daily exercise 

Mounted police control the crowds outside Rossett Park stadium in Liverpool for the Emirates FA Cup third round match

Mounted police control the crowds outside Rossett Park stadium in Liverpool for the Emirates FA Cup third round match

Mounted police control the crowds outside Rossett Park stadium in Liverpool for the Emirates FA Cup third round match

Crowds look on as the Marine team bus arrives outside the stadium in Liverpool

Crowds look on as the Marine team bus arrives outside the stadium in Liverpool

Crowds look on as the Marine team bus arrives outside the stadium in Liverpool 

Police officers talk to a cyclist in Greenwich on Sunday

Police officers talk to a cyclist in Greenwich on Sunday

Police officers talk to a cyclist in Greenwich on Sunday 

Masses of people were spotted walking through Victoria Park in east London today

Masses of people were spotted walking through Victoria Park in east London today

Masses of people were spotted walking through Victoria Park in east London today 

Big crowds were seen walking through Victoria Park in east London today

Big crowds were seen walking through Victoria Park in east London today

Big crowds were seen walking through Victoria Park in east London today

 

Hordes of fans show their support as they wait outside the stadium prior to the FA Cup Third Round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

Hordes of fans show their support as they wait outside the stadium prior to the FA Cup Third Round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

Hordes of fans show their support as they wait outside the stadium prior to the FA Cup Third Round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

Two young girls pose for a photo as fans gather with no social distancing outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby

Two young girls pose for a photo as fans gather with no social distancing outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby

Two young girls pose for a photo as fans gather with no social distancing outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby

Fans gather with no social distancing as they wait to greet the team buses outside Rossett Park, the home ground of Marine, in Crosby

Fans gather with no social distancing as they wait to greet the team buses outside Rossett Park, the home ground of Marine, in Crosby

Fans gather with no social distancing as they wait to greet the team buses outside Rossett Park, the home ground of Marine, in Crosby

Huge crowds gather to watch the Marine players arrive for the FA Cup third-round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

Huge crowds gather to watch the Marine players arrive for the FA Cup third-round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

Huge crowds gather to watch the Marine players arrive for the FA Cup third-round match between Marine and Tottenham Hotspur at Rossett Park

People queue for pancakes outside in Hampstead. A major incident has been declared by the London Mayor due to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases

People queue for pancakes outside in Hampstead. A major incident has been declared by the London Mayor due to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases

People queue for pancakes outside in Hampstead. A major incident has been declared by the London Mayor due to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases

Local authority covid marshals patrol the seafront at Brighton on the south coast during the third national lockdown

Local authority covid marshals patrol the seafront at Brighton on the south coast during the third national lockdown

Local authority covid marshals patrol the seafront at Brighton on the south coast during the third national lockdown

‘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.’   

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday more people were obeying the rules than in the November lockdown, but added: ‘Absolutely I’m going to back the police. The challenge here is that every flex can be fatal. 

‘You might look at the rules and think ”well it doesn’t matter that much if I just do this or do that”, but these rules are not there as boundaries to be pushed, they’re the limit of what people should be doing.’

Police on Horseback in Hyde Park in central London today amid a police clampdown on lockdown rule breakers that could see them fined up to £200

Police on Horseback in Hyde Park in central London today amid a police clampdown on lockdown rule breakers that could see them fined up to £200

Police on Horseback in Hyde Park in central London today amid a police clampdown on lockdown rule breakers that could see them fined up to £200

Ms Patel said: 'The tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country's recovery from this deadly virus'

Ms Patel said: 'The tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country's recovery from this deadly virus'

Ms Patel said: ‘The tragic number of new cases and deaths this week shows there is still a need for strong enforcement where people are clearly breaking these rules to ensure we safeguard our country’s recovery from this deadly virus’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky's Ridge on Sunday: 'Absolutely I’m going to back the police. Every flex can be fatal ... these rules are not there as boundaries to be pushed, they're the limit of what you should be doing'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky's Ridge on Sunday: 'Absolutely I’m going to back the police. Every flex can be fatal ... these rules are not there as boundaries to be pushed, they're the limit of what you should be doing'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told Sky’s Ridge on Sunday: ‘Absolutely I’m going to back the police. Every flex can be fatal … these rules are not there as boundaries to be pushed, they’re the limit of what you should be doing’

Lots of people in Hampstead, north London, decided to take exercise and shop for essential items at the same time today

Lots of people in Hampstead, north London, decided to take exercise and shop for essential items at the same time today

Lots of people in Hampstead, north London, decided to take exercise and shop for essential items at the same time today

Covid vaccine could become annual event like flu jab, says Hancock 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is ‘highly likely’ people will be vaccinated against Covid annually, as with the flu.

He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme: ‘I think it’s highly likely that there will be a dual-vaccination programme for the foreseeable, this is the medium-term, of flu and Covid.’

He added: ‘Flu vaccination rates are at their highest level ever. Over 80 per cent of the over-65s have been vaccinated for flu this year. That’s the biggest increase, a jump on last year when it was around 70 per cent.

‘That’s very good news. It’s good news for two reasons. Firstly, to protect people against flu and secondly because it shows the vast, vast majority of over-65s are up for getting vaccinated.’

The Health Secretary said the Government was on course to reach its target of 13 million people vaccinated by mid-February.

He told Ridge: ‘Yes we’re on course. The rate limiting factor at the moment is supply but that’s increasing.

‘I’m very glad to say that at the moment we’re running at over 200,000 people being vaccinated every day.

‘We’ve now vaccinated around one third of the over-80s in this country so we’re making significant progress but there’s still further expansion to go.

‘This week we’re opening mass vaccination centres. Big sites for instance at Epsom racecourse, there’s seven going live this week with more to come next week where we will get through very large numbers of people.’

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In North Tyneside today – a popular choice for Britons eager for a hit of fresh air – car parks were jammed and huge queues formed outside cafes selling takeaway hot drinks. 

One local resident said: ‘It’s crazy. I can’t believe how busy it is. It’s actually busier than usual.

‘These people are putting themselves and their families at risk by being here.

‘The Government’s message is clear. You should act like you have the virus.

‘I saw a police van earlier, but it just drove along the seafront, it didn’t stop.

‘There doesn’t seem to be any enforcement of the rules at all.’

The National Police Chiefs’ Council’s new guidance, issued on Wednesday according to the Sunday Telegraph, said: ‘Officers should continue to engage members of the public and explain changes. If necessary they should offer encouragement to comply.

‘However if the individual or group does not respond appropriately, then enforcement can follow without repeated attempts to encourage people to comply with the law.

‘We police by consent. The initial police response should be to encourage voluntary compliance.’

The previous guidance from December 9, said: ‘We police by consent. The initial police response should be to encourage voluntary compliance.’

A Home Office source told the Telegraph police are set to ‘move through the gears’, warning: ‘We are going to see more rapid movement to enforcement.

‘Over 1,000 people died yesterday. It is important that everyone sticks to the rules. The rules have been around for long enough.

‘If there was a gunman who killed 1,000 people yesterday running around the country and the Government said “stay at home” everyone would say “OK I’ll do that, I won’t go for a coffee with some friends and walk around the park”.’

In Liverpool, police were pictured looking on as football supporters who had gathered outside the Marine v Spurs FA Cup blatantly ignored social distancing rules. 

Football fans were packed behind barriers outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby to catch a glimpse of players in the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match on Sunday. 

MailOnline asked Merseyside Police if any action had been taken for breaches of Covid laws.

A spokesman said it was ‘factually incorrect’ to describe the crowds as ‘huge’, adding police were there ‘as a planned response to manage road closures, public safety and coach arrivals as well’.

‘It isn’t a simple case of clearing an area of people,’ he said.

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: ‘Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC’s FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur. 

‘A small gathering took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely. 

In Liverpool, police were pictured looking on as football supporters who had gathered outside the Marine v Spurs FA Cup blatantly ignored social distancing rules

In Liverpool, police were pictured looking on as football supporters who had gathered outside the Marine v Spurs FA Cup blatantly ignored social distancing rules

In Liverpool, police were pictured looking on as football supporters who had gathered outside the Marine v Spurs FA Cup blatantly ignored social distancing rules

Football fans were packed behind barriers outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby to catch a glimpse of players in the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match on Sunday

Football fans were packed behind barriers outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby to catch a glimpse of players in the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match on Sunday

Football fans were packed behind barriers outside the Rossett Park stadium in Crosby to catch a glimpse of players in the Marine AFC v Tottenham Hotspur match on Sunday

MailOnline asked Merseyside Police if any action had been taken for breaches of Covid laws (some of the crowds pictured). A spokesman said it was 'factually incorrect' to describe the crowds as 'huge', adding police were there 'as a planned response to manage road closures, public safety and coach arrivals as well'

MailOnline asked Merseyside Police if any action had been taken for breaches of Covid laws (some of the crowds pictured). A spokesman said it was 'factually incorrect' to describe the crowds as 'huge', adding police were there 'as a planned response to manage road closures, public safety and coach arrivals as well'

MailOnline asked Merseyside Police if any action had been taken for breaches of Covid laws (some of the crowds pictured). A spokesman said it was ‘factually incorrect’ to describe the crowds as ‘huge’, adding police were there ‘as a planned response to manage road closures, public safety and coach arrivals as well’

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: 'Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC's FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur. A small gathering (pictured) took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely'

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: 'Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC's FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur. A small gathering (pictured) took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely'

Superintendent Andy Rankine from Merseyside Police told MailOnline: ‘Officers are in Crosby this afternoon ahead of Marine FC’s FA Cup tie with Tottenham Hotspur. A small gathering (pictured) took place ahead of the arrival of the team coaches, and road closures were put in place to facilitate this arrival safely’

Police said the 'vast majorty' of those outside the stadium were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers

Police said the 'vast majorty' of those outside the stadium were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers

Police said the ‘vast majorty’ of those outside the stadium were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers

‘The vast majority of people present were adhering to social distancing measures and those who were not were advised by officers. 

‘As we have done throughout this pandemic, we will always strive to encourage people to disperse and go home peacefully. 

‘But where we face blatant breaches of legislation, people ignoring the restrictions and even obstructing police from carrying out their duty, our officers will not hesitate to take enforcement action. 

‘Those attending have now left the area and we hope everyone enjoys the occasion safely at home.’  

Police in Wales have blasted ‘selfish Covid rule-breakers’ who are ‘blatantly’ defying the law and wasting police time.

Their criticism came after more than 100 cars were turned away from Moel Famau – on the border between Flintshire and England – by Saturday lunchtime.

A Wales police and crime commissioner vowed to clamp down on rule breakers – and focus on ‘enforcement’ rather than engagement.

North Wales Police’s rural crime team wrote: ‘Another day wasted dealing with Covid rule breakers. So frustrating that we have to deal with these people who simply don’t care whilst the vast majority of us do the right thing and stay at home We are seeing people from England and various areas of Wales… so selfish.’

The force said people were arrested overnight and taken to custody for failing to provide their details for breaching Covid restrictions.

Superintendent Nick Evans said: ‘Wales is under Alert Level 4 restrictions and infections are dangerously high. Our teams will therefore continue to target those who are blatantly breaching the rules, placing others at risk and putting further demand on our over-stretched NHS.

‘Level 4 restrictions state that exercise should start and finish from home and that nobody should be travelling unless essential.

‘The restrictions are in place to prevent the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. They apply to every single one of us and it’s disappointing to think that some do not believe the restrictions apply to them. 

‘The restrictions are all about nudging back the infection rate, so rule breaking, however small, could cost the life of yours or someone else’s loved one. ‘

On Friday, two people had to be rescued by the North East Wales Search and Rescue team after becoming ‘disorientated’ in severe weather conditions during a walk up Moel Famau.

The pair had gone for a walk from home but they raised the alarm by phoning the policing after losing their bearings as conditions deteriorated rapidly due to snow and poor visibility.

Welsh rules allow for fixed penalty notices to be issued ranging from £60 to £10,000. But the region’s police and crime commissioner

Welsh police and crime commissioner Arfon Jones said it is time for a tougher approach. He said: ‘I would like to commend most people for behaving responsibly at this difficult time but those who choose not to can expect to be held to account.

‘Unfortunately, there are far too many selfish people who are flouting the guidelines and they are turbo-charging the spread of this deadly virus.

‘Their actions are totally irresponsible and life-threatening. If they have no regard for their own health, they should think of their loved ones.

‘It is now time to forget the mantra of engage, encourage and educate and focus on enforcement so we can clamp down on the Covid rule breakers and prevent this reckless behaviour. The stay home and stay safe message is all more important because the new mutant strain of Covid-19 is even more infectious.

‘This has inevitably ramped up the threat of community transmission, with 70 per cent of cases in north Wales linked the new variant. As a consequence, the people of north Wales are at risk like never before.’ 

A National Police Chiefs Council spokesman said: ‘We’ve been guiding officers since October to move more quickly to issuing a fine where people are clearly breaching Covid regulations and not listening to encouragement.

‘This approach continues in this dangerous stage of the pandemic. There is no specific rule on the number of warnings officers should give – officers continue to use their judgement.’

The new rules were on full show on Saturday when a woman was surrounded by three police who claimed she had left her house more than once.

The woman, who is joined by an elderly man, bursts into tears as the police interrogate her over the alleged lockdown violation in Bournemouth.

Another three officers appear to arrest a different woman for what she claims was ‘sitting on a bench’ on the seafront.

There are about ten servicemen out on patrol which appeared to outnumber the number of pedestrians.

One officer tells the first woman: ‘At the moment you’re allowed out for exercise once a day.

‘You’ve been filmed today in the town centre and around here and walking up and down.’

Another officer shows her the rules she was said to have broken on a mobile phone but she interrupts when she hears the words ‘anti-social manner’.

She asks: ‘Am I acting in an anti-social manner.’ The man with her asks: ‘What’s anti-social.’

The officer, who was wearing a face covering, continues but the woman starts crying and wipes her eyes.

She says: ‘How have I acted ant-socially, I was sat on a bench having a cup of coffee, that is not anti-social.’

The policewoman says ‘you’re acting anti-social now’, to which the woman replies: ‘Well yes, you’re provoking me.’

They continue to argue and the woman refuses to give the officer her details when asked.

Meanwhile the cameraman walks over to another part of the promenade where a woman is being cuffed by four different officers.

The filmer asks: ‘What’s going on, why are you putting her hands behind her back? What are you doing?’

The woman, wearing glasses and a long red coat, says: ‘I was sitting on a bench. I was sitting on a bench.’

The four officers lead her away in handcuffs while other pedestrians ask why they feel it is necessary.

The footage comes to an end as the second woman is led to a police van while the first continues to bicker with the police.

Dorset Police has been approached for comment.

Elsewhere key workers became some of the first to be vaccinated against coronavirus at a mass vaccine hub in Newcastle as the government ramps up distribution of the jabs in the hope of ending lockdown by spring.

People were pictured being given injections at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle on Saturday – one of seven centres that are due to open to the elderly and vulnerable on Monday.

It comes after Boris Johnson pledged to vaccinate hundreds of thousands people per day by Friday with the aim of giving 13million the jab before Easter, allowing lockdown restrictions to be significantly loosened.

The mass vaccination hubs – located in Newcastle, Manchester, London, Stevenage, Surrey, Bristol and Birmingham – can treat up to four people per minute and will work alongside GP surgeries and other facilities to try and hit the Prime Minister’s ambitious target. 

The crackdown comes amid calls from scientists for even stricter restrictions, while No10 pushes an intimidating new ad campaign to try and arrest the spiralling number of coronavirus cases across the country. 

Holidaymakers face being trapped abroad in their hotel rooms under new rules preventing British tourists from travelling home if they fail a Covid test

Holidaymakers may end up trapped in hotel rooms abroad for two weeks due to new rules preventing British tourists from travelling home if they test positive for Covid-19.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will introduce laws this week forcing travellers to produce a negative test result no older than 72 hours before they board a plane, boat or train to the UK.

But Britons who test positive at the end of their holiday or business trip will have to follow that country’s local quarantine rules – which could mean up to two weeks confined to a hotel room in places such as Italy, Spain and Dubai.

Travel expert Alex Macheras told The Mail on Sunday: ‘People need to remember that if you test positive in a foreign country then they will be bound by their local laws and may have to quarantine for up to two weeks.’

In Italy, travellers have to test negative twice before they are released from the country’s two-week quarantine. Dubai also has two-week isolation orders in place for infected people.

Spain has banned British tourists from flying there but those already in the country can fly back home. If they test positive they will have to quarantine at their hotel or holiday accommodation for 14 days.

Mr Macheras said: ‘If people are travelling in a global pandemic then they have to accept there’s going to be disruption and your trip could end up being much longer than you planned.’

From Thursday, all travellers will have to provide a negative test before arriving in the UK to prevent the spread of new Covid variants. The results must be obtained less than 72 hours before departure, with £500 fines for those who flout the rules.

Fears have been raised that if strict border controls remain in place once travel opens up again, holidaymakers could face paying hundreds of pounds for costly tests both before departure and on return, potentially pricing many families out of trips.

Travel companies including Thomas Cook are understood to be considering offering tests as part of their package holidays.

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 In a hard-hitting article in the Sunday Times England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty blasted coronavirus rulebreakers for being the ‘link in a chain’ that will allow the deadly virus to infect a and kill the elderly and vulnerable.

‘We must stay home except for work, exercise and necessary activities. Every unneccesary interaction you have could be the link in the chain of transmission which has a vulnerable person at the end,’ he wrote.

The country has two weeks before hospitals are likely to be completely overwhelmed, Prof Whitty added, as the nation is plunged into the ‘most dangerous situation’ in living history.

 While former WHO director Anthony Costello said Britain must go into an ‘Asia-style’ lockdown now with nurseries and places of worship closed, hotels commandeered as isolation centres and masks worn in every public space, experts have warned.

 On Friday, Derbyshire Police faced criticism on Friday for taking the lockdown crackdown too far after officers swooped on two friends for driving just seven miles to go for a walk at a beauty spot.

As a result, the ‘intimidating’ force is reviewing its Covid operations after getting clarification about the rules, with West Mercia Police also mocked for threatening to fine people £200 for playing in the snow.

Nevertheless, the message from Government sources is that police should be focusing more on enforcing rather than explaining rules, now nearly 10 months since the very first restrictions came into effect.

In Lincoln, police yesterday fined a man from Chesterfield who it emerged had set a personal goal to try and visit every football ground in the country, despite clear stay-at-home rules.   

The driver was pulled over by officers on Friday, close to the cathedral, after a system check revealed the vehicle was registered to an address outside of Lincolnshire.

But when asked what he was doing, police were left bewildered by his response.

Sgt Mike Templeman wrote on Twitter: ‘The vehicle was stopped as it was registered in Chesterfield.

‘The driver stated he was having a road trip to football grounds around the country having left Chesterfield yesterday.

‘You simply couldn’t make it up. Covid-19 penalty ticket issued along with the strongest words of advice.’

Elsewhere, Norfolk Police revealed a couple had travelled 130 miles from their home in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire to Horsey on Thursday to look at a seal colony.

Local officers carrying out patrols at around 4pm approached the couple in the beach car park after vehicle checks revealed that the car was registered to an address outside of the county.

The man and woman, both aged in their 50s, admitted they had travelled to see the seals and both were issued with a fixed penalty notice, the force said.

In London, officers also handed out fines to a gym owner who broke lockdown rules, as well as the organiser of a party so loud, the music could be heard across the street.

And in Essex, police caught a group driving 15 miles to meet together in a rural area.

Demands for more enforcement were echoed earlier by Wiltshire Police’s chief constable, Kier Pritchard, who wrote in the Gazette and Herald: ‘Although we will continue to police with consent and in a proportionate way, my officers will move to enforcement much quicker when confronted with people clearly breaching the rules.

‘Up until now, police forces have focused on engagement, reinforcing the messaging within our communities and encouraging the public to comply in the first instance, only reverting to enforcement when we are faced with deliberate or repeated breaches.

‘We will continue to engage with our communities but my officers will quickly move to enforcement against those who are flagrantly breaching the rules.’

The shift in approach comes as Boris Johnson this week begged families to stay at home as the Covid-19 death toll hit a grim new record – with the Government launching a new campaign blitz to scare people into obeying lockdown rules.

England’s Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty has appeared in adverts urging us to stay at home as the new variant of the virus rips across the country.

Two terrifying new posters also show a patient dying in hospital and a healthcare worker wearing full PPE, warning Britons: ‘If you go out, you can spread it. People will die.’ 

Police in east London came across a party at a flat with music so loud you can hear from across the street, disturbing the neighbours at 2am. Seven people were given fines for breaching Covid restrictions regulations and dispersed

Police in east London came across a party at a flat with music so loud you can hear from across the street, disturbing the neighbours at 2am. Seven people were given fines for breaching Covid restrictions regulations and dispersed

Police in east London came across a party at a flat with music so loud you can hear from across the street, disturbing the neighbours at 2am. Seven people were given fines for breaching Covid restrictions regulations and dispersed

In Lincoln, police fined a man from Chesterfield who it emerged had set a personal goal to try and visit every football ground in the country, despite clear stay-at-home rules

In Lincoln, police fined a man from Chesterfield who it emerged had set a personal goal to try and visit every football ground in the country, despite clear stay-at-home rules

In Lincoln, police fined a man from Chesterfield who it emerged had set a personal goal to try and visit every football ground in the country, despite clear stay-at-home rules

Norfolk Police revealed a couple had travelled 130 miles from their home in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire to Horsey on Thursday to look at a seal colony

Norfolk Police revealed a couple had travelled 130 miles from their home in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire to Horsey on Thursday to look at a seal colony

Norfolk Police revealed a couple had travelled 130 miles from their home in Wellingborough in Northamptonshire to Horsey on Thursday to look at a seal colony

In Essex, police said: 'Please note that driving to a remote location some 15 miles away from your House with garden to meet your mates & take photos of your car is not in the list of reasons to leave your house'

In Essex, police said: 'Please note that driving to a remote location some 15 miles away from your House with garden to meet your mates & take photos of your car is not in the list of reasons to leave your house'

In Essex, police said: ‘Please note that driving to a remote location some 15 miles away from your House with garden to meet your mates & take photos of your car is not in the list of reasons to leave your house’

Doctors in packed London hospitals ‘have to choose who gets intensive care and prioritise young people with highest survival chances’

Doctors in overwhelmed London hospitals have begun ‘triaging’ coronavirus patients to choose who gets critical care as medics warn the NHS is reaching the point where it ‘simply won’t be able to cope’. 

Doctors in the capital said a critical shortage of beds meant some hospitals were implementing emergency guidelines to prioritise treatment for patients with the best survival chances. This means younger patients who are more-likely to survive will be offered critical care over the elderly, who are less likely to survive.

And intensive care medics on Britain’s Covid frontline are ‘extremely worried’ that case totals will keep increasing until the NHS ‘simply won’t be able to cope with it’ as Britons keep flouting lockdown. Data shows just 30 per cent of people exhibiting Covid symptoms are actually staying at home, claiming work, caring responsibilities or the need to buy supplies force them out the house.  

Intensive care consultant Professor Rupert Pearse – who works at the Royal London Hospital in the hard-hit capital – said Britons are not following the rules like they were ‘in the first wave’ putting enormous pressure on the already-overwhelmed health service. Dr Katharina Hauck, from the faculty of medicine at Imperial College London, said: ‘Hospitals in London are overwhelmed, which is a dangerous situation for all patients requiring urgent care … Sadly, some hospitals are now forced to follow … emergency triage of all patients requiring critical care.

‘Applying this guidance effectively means that patients under the age of 65 who are not frail will be prioritised over elderly and frailer patients for critical care. Frail patients would be cared for in general wards with less intensive care.’

And deputy chair of the British Medical Association’s consultants committee said the latest wave of Covid infections is only ‘going to get worse’. He said critical health services are spread ‘more and more thinly’ as many as three patients per intensive care nurse, rather than the usual standard of one-to-one care.

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Earlier on Saturday, Susan Michie, professor of health psychology at University College London, who advises the SAGE committee of experts, said there had been 90% compliance with the national lockdown but that busier streets and public transport were a result of government guidance.

She told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: ‘One of the explanations for that is this is quite a lax lockdown because we’ve still got a lot of household contact, people go in and out of other people’s houses if they’re a cleaner, a non-essential trade person or a nanny. 

‘We also have mass gatherings in terms of religious events and nurseries being open, and you have this wide definition of critical workers so we have 30-50% of classes full up at the moment and very busy public transport going to and from these things.

‘It’s definitely too lax. If you compare ourselves with March we have the winter season and the virus survives for longer in the cold plus people spend more time indoors and we now know aerosol transmission which happens indoors is a very big source of transmission for this virus.

‘Secondly, we have this new variant which is 50-70% more infectious. You put those two things together alongside the NHS being in crisis, we should have a stricter, rather than a less strict lockdown we had in March.’

However, Prof Michie said to get people to adhere to the rules, a more positive approach needed to be taken rather than stricter enforcement.

‘What we know from this pandemic is what really motivates people is knowing there’s a really serious threat, knowing that what they do can make a difference and also knowing what they do can protect other people and their communities.

‘The behavioural committee of SAGE says consistently what we need is more support and enablement for people to adhere, not punishment. For example one area where there’s really poor adherence, and has been throughout, is having to isolate at home for what is now 10 days.

‘Our own data shows only 30% of people with symptoms are staying at home. The reasons given are they may have caring responsibilities outside the house, they may need to get provisions, or importantly, they have to go out to work to get income.

‘What you need to be effective is have people who people trust and identify with. Yes, experts and scientists are trusted a lot more than politicians but we should also think about people from people’s own communities that are respected, particularly young men who find adherence most challenging, and think about who they identify with and respect, and that’s often sports personalities, singers, people from film and television.

‘We should be much more creative and imaginative about the kind of people who are speaking out.’ 

Key Worker Mark Reid from North Shields receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Newcastle

Key Worker Mark Reid from North Shields receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Newcastle

Key Worker Mark Reid from North Shields receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Newcastle

Alex Morton, 27, from Cramlington receives her Covid-19 vaccine along with other health and social care workers at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle

Alex Morton, 27, from Cramlington receives her Covid-19 vaccine along with other health and social care workers at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle

Alex Morton, 27, from Cramlington receives her Covid-19 vaccine along with other health and social care workers at the Life Science Centre in Newcastle

A healthcare professional prepares a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for health and social care workers at the Life Science Centre at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle

A healthcare professional prepares a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for health and social care workers at the Life Science Centre at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle

A healthcare professional prepares a dose of Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for health and social care workers at the Life Science Centre at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle

Three police officers wearing face masks question a man sitting on a bench in St James's Park in central London this morning

Three police officers wearing face masks question a man sitting on a bench in St James's Park in central London this morning

Three police officers wearing face masks question a man sitting on a bench in St James’s Park in central London this morning

Wiltshire Police chief constable Kier Pritchard warned that officers would be stepping up enforcement over the coming weeks

Wiltshire Police chief constable Kier Pritchard warned that officers would be stepping up enforcement over the coming weeks

Wiltshire Police chief constable Kier Pritchard warned that officers would be stepping up enforcement over the coming weeks

However, Prof Susan Michie said to get people to adhere to the rules, a more positive approach needed to be taken rather than stricter enforcement

However, Prof Susan Michie said to get people to adhere to the rules, a more positive approach needed to be taken rather than stricter enforcement

However, Prof Susan Michie said to get people to adhere to the rules, a more positive approach needed to be taken rather than stricter enforcement

The owners of a London gym were also fined for breaching Covid-19 rules by remaining open during lockdown.

The Metropolitan Police said officers were called to the fitness centre on Stean Street in Hackney on Friday to reports of a breach of regulations.

Officers found that the north-east London gym was open and three people were inside shortly before 9.30am.

The owners were issued a £1,000 fixed penalty notice, the Met said.

It comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital as the spread of coronavirus threatens to ‘overwhelm’ its hospitals.

City Hall said Covid-19 cases in London had exceeded 1,000 per 100,000, while there are 35% more people in hospital with the virus than in the peak of the pandemic in April.

NHS England figures published on Friday showed the number of Covid patients in London hospitals stands at 7,277, up 32% on the previous week.

Chief Inspector Pete Shaw, from the Met, said: ‘Whilst there are certain rules around people being allowed to exercise in public under this lockdown, nowhere in the legislation does it allow people to go to gyms to work out.

‘Those found to be flouting the rules, as with this instance, should expect necessary enforcement action to be taken against them.

‘We are thankful that the vast majority of people continue to follow the guidance and do their part to reduce the infection rate.’

Elsewhere, Greater Manchester Police has asked people to report non-emergencies online as a number of communications staff are self-isolating.

The force said a number of staff in the Operational Communications Branch (OCB), which receives 101 calls, were having to self-isolate for Covid-19 reasons and staff from the Transport Unit were assisting the department with calls.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: ‘All of our staff in OCB have worked extremely hard throughout this pandemic to help keep the communities in Greater Manchester safe and our technology has enabled many to work from home.

‘However, inevitably, some of our officers and staff will be affected by the ongoing pandemic and may need to self-isolate for the safety of themselves, their colleagues and the public and we are supporting them in doing so.

‘We have therefore had to redeploy some of our resources from the Transport Unit to assist colleagues in OCB on a temporary basis.

‘Answering calls from members of the public is vital and moving officers into the department can help us to deliver our normal service. This is why we’re continuing to ask the public to report any non-emergencies online where possible.’  

On Friday, the Broseley and Much Wenlock division of West Mercia Police tweeted: ‘There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm.

‘This is obviously not a justifiable reason to be out of your house, this behaviour is likely to result in a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking the lockdown rules.’

Meanwhile, Derbyshire Police fined beautician Jessica Allen and her British Airways flight attendant friend Eliza Moore £200 each for driving for a socially distanced stroll at Foremark Reservoir, which despite not being her nearest park is only 10 minutes from her house. 

The decision to fine them will have ‘damaged’ the public’s perception of how the laws are enforced, a former police chief has said. 

Neighbourhood officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock tweeted on Thursday night: 'There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm'

Neighbourhood officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock tweeted on Thursday night: 'There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm'

Neighbourhood officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock tweeted on Thursday night: ‘There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm’

Jessica Allen (left) and Eliza Moore were stopped by officers from Derbyshire Police while they were enjoying a socially distanced walk at a Derbyshire beauty spot

Jessica Allen (left) and Eliza Moore were stopped by officers from Derbyshire Police while they were enjoying a socially distanced walk at a Derbyshire beauty spot

Jessica Allen (left) and Eliza Moore were stopped by officers from Derbyshire Police while they were enjoying a socially distanced walk at a Derbyshire beauty spot 

Jessica Allen

Jessica Allen

Eliza Moore

Eliza Moore

Ms Allen (left) and Ms Moore (right) were taking a stroll at Foremark Reservoir when they were surrounded by Derbyshire Police, read their rights and hit with £200 fines each

The pair (pictured is Ms Allen, left; and Ms Moore, right) were also told their cups of Starbucks peppermint tea, which they bought at a drive-thru, were not allowed because they were 'classed as a picnic'

The pair (pictured is Ms Allen, left; and Ms Moore, right) were also told their cups of Starbucks peppermint tea, which they bought at a drive-thru, were not allowed because they were 'classed as a picnic'

The pair (pictured is Ms Allen, left; and Ms Moore, right) were also told their cups of Starbucks peppermint tea, which they bought at a drive-thru, were not allowed because they were ‘classed as a picnic’

Ms Allen, a beautician from nearby Ashby-de-la-Zouch, said she assumed ‘someone had been murdered’ when she saw a police van, a police car and several officers at the entrance of the open space. This map shows the proximity between her house and the reservoir 

Chris Whitty warns hospitals are facing ‘the worst crisis in living memory’ as Covid cases soar

Chris Whitty has warned hospitals are facing ‘the worst crisis in living memory’ as Covid-19 cases continue to soar – with 46,000 medical workers now off sick.   

Britons who don’t take the coronavirus lockdown seriously will cause ‘avoidable deaths’ when critically ill patients are turned away at the hospital door, Professor Chris Whitty warned in a scathing article for the Sunday Times.

And almost 50,000 hospital workers are currently off sick with Covid-19, according to the chair of the British Medical Association, Chaand Nagpaul, meaning an already stretched workforce is under even more pressure, reported The Guardian.

He said: ‘It is only if the NHS workforce is kept fit and well that we will be able to meet the unprecedented surge in demand that the coming weeks and months will bring as well as delivering the vaccine programme that remains our only hope to end this dreadful pandemic.’

Prof Whitty blasted coronavirus rulebreakers for being the ‘link in a chain’ that will allow the deadly virus to infect a and kill the elderly and vulnerable. 

‘We must stay home except for work, exercise and necessary activities. Every unneccesary interaction you have could be the link in the chain of transmission which has a vulnerable person at the end,’ he wrote.

The country has two weeks before hospitals are likely to be completely overwhelmed, Prof Whitty added, as the nation is plunged into the ‘most dangerous situation’ in living history.

But it’s not just Britons with coronavirus who are at risk, as patients in need of treatment for other illnesses face ‘unsafe’ waiting times. 

NHS hospitals are treating half the usual number of cancer patients, according to The Sunday Telegraph, as London needs to treat 500 more cancer patients a week to stay on top of demand – but only 122 were treated in the capitals NHS hospitals this week. 

It could take the NHS six years of 1990-level waiting lists – meaning patients will be forced to wait years for operations – and more than £900million to get back to where healthcare was pre-Covid, according to Rob Findlay, an expert who produced software for nearly 20 NHS trusts.

He told People the 168,000 patients who have waited a year for treatment will more than double by March after lockdown caused operations to be delayed.

Professor Neil Ferguson said the number of patients with coronavirus in hospitals will sour by 20 per cent. ‘It will be quite difficult to avoid another 20,000 deaths,’ he added.

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Mike Barton told BBC Breakfast yesterday he believed Derbyshire Police would ‘row back’ on its decision to fine the pair who had gone for a walk five miles from their home.

The former Durham Police chief constable said: ‘I think personally Derbyshire will row back from this position, but sadly there will be some damage done here because for the public to comply with the law, they have got to think and see the police are acting fairly. It’s called procedural justice.

‘If police aren’t seen to be acting fairly, the public won’t comply.

‘It’s all very well some people in Whitehall sabre rattling and banging the table that the police are going to enforce these rules, that doesn’t bring about compliance. The public seeing fairness does.’

Mr Barton said it was ‘no wonder’ some police forces were confused about how to enforce the Covid-19 laws, given some of the terminology used by the Government.

He added: ‘What we have got here is police in the past nine months have had hundreds of different rules sent to them.

‘In my day when I was policing we would have one piece of legislation a year, maybe a couple, and then we would have a training programme on how to enforce it. That space hasn’t been given to policing.

‘This is all based on the word ‘local’ and I have never seen that in legislation before.

‘None of those issues have ever been described by the law before, so no wonder there is some confusion out there.’

Current lockdown guidance instructs the public to limit exercise – including running, cycling, swimming and walking – to once per day, and says while people can leave their home, they should not travel outside their local area.

Ms Allen, 27, said she assumed ‘someone had been murdered’ when she saw a police van, a police car and several officers at the entrance of the open space. 

‘It was a short journey and only took about ten minutes,’ she said. I genuinely thought someone had been murdered or a child had gone missing; the place is normally so quiet. 

‘The next thing, my car is surrounded. I got out of my car thinking ”There’s no way they’re coming to speak to us”. Straight away they start questioning us. One of them started reading my rights and I was looking at my friend thinking ”This must be a joke”. 

‘I said we had come in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us. He said ”You can’t do that as it’s classed as a picnic”.

‘Crossing into a different county seems to have caused the issue but the border into Derbyshire is only a minute away from my house.’  

Ms Moore, who is 27 and alongside her work for BA runs a make-up business, said she was ‘stunned at the time’ so did not challenge police and gave her details so they could send a fixed penalty notice.

‘Just seeing a police officer anyway is quite scary for some people and we were really not expecting to be approached and to be told we were doing something wrong,’ she said.

‘We don’t want to get away with it if we have broken the rule, but it seems a bit unfair that you can be fined on something that’s so vague.’

The pair were also told their cups of Starbucks peppermint tea, which they bought at a drive-thru, were not allowed because they were ‘classed as a picnic’. 

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot this week

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot this week

All car parks in Snowdonia National Park have now been closed to visitors. Pictured is a police car patrolling the beauty spot this week

A police officer stopped a group of three walkers as they headed through Birmingham City Centre amid lockdown

A police officer stopped a group of three walkers as they headed through Birmingham City Centre amid lockdown

A police officer stopped a group of three walkers as they headed through Birmingham City Centre amid lockdown

Police officer took a picture of one man

Police officer took a picture of one man

Officers crowded around a person out walking in Birmingham City Centre

Officers crowded around a person out walking in Birmingham City Centre

A police officer took a picture of one man, as others crowded around another person while they were out walking in Birmingham City Centre despite coronavirus lockdown

The Met has vowed not to warn people any longer and punish them with fixed penalty notices of at £200 for first offences, and these officers were also stopping cars

The Met has vowed not to warn people any longer and punish them with fixed penalty notices of at £200 for first offences, and these officers were also stopping cars

The Met has vowed not to warn people any longer and punish them with fixed penalty notices of at £200 for first offences, and these officers were also stopping cars

Derbyshire police were pictured turning drivers away at a vehicle checkpoint at Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, Friday afternoon

Derbyshire police were pictured turning drivers away at a vehicle checkpoint at Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, Friday afternoon

Derbyshire police were pictured turning drivers away at a vehicle checkpoint at Calke Abbey, near Ticknall, Friday afternoon

Police and Covid marshals patrol the seafront in Bournemouth this morning to spot any people breaking the rules

Police and Covid marshals patrol the seafront in Bournemouth this morning to spot any people breaking the rules

Police and Covid marshals patrol the seafront in Bournemouth this morning to spot any people breaking the rules 

What can police do and what CAN’T they do to enforce Covid rules? 

If I get stopped by police, do I need to answer their questions?

Police have the power to stop you in a public place and ask for your name, where you are going and what you are doing. This is known as ‘Stop and Account’. In most circumstances, you don’t have to stay with the officer or answer their questions.

The police also have a power to stop vehicles for any reason. Again, they can ask you to account for yourself, but they can’t generally force you to stay or take further action against you unless they have good reason for doing so.

However, refusing to answer the police’s questions (for example, about who you are gathering with) could give them reason to believe you are breaching the new regulations. This is because it is now a criminal offence to breach the rules in the Tier you are in.

What is reasonable force?

Under the new rules, police can use reasonable force to remove you from a gathering if they believe that you are gathering in a way which is banned by the Tier rules. They can only do this if it’s necessary and proportionate to do so.

They can also use reasonable force if you resist arrest, or if it’s necessary to prevent a crime being committed. These powers come from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (known as PACE). ‘Reasonable force’ means using only as much force as they need in the circumstances. It must be the minimum – no more.

Can I be arrested?

The police can arrest you if they have good reason to believe you might have committed a crime – and that arresting you is necessary.

What I can do if I believe the police have acted unfairly?

If you’re unhappy with the way the police have treated you, you can make a complaint.

Source: Liberty. 

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Guidance for the current lockdown says people can travel for exercise ‘as long as it is in their local area’, but does not specify how far people can travel. 

Derbyshire Police insisted the distance was ‘at the discretion’ of individual officers and the trip was ‘not in the spirit of the rules’. 

The force has previously been criticised for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the restrictions, and in March released drone footage of dog walkers in the Peak District in an attempt to ‘shame’ them. 

And in March, the force dumped black dye into a famous blue lagoon in Harpur Hill near Buxton to prevent Instagrammers from posing for snaps during the lockdown. 

It comes as police forces nationwide upped up their enforcement of Covid regulations.     

In Aberdeen, two policeman knocked on a family’s front door after complaints from a neighbour and stormed inside as a woman shouted ‘this is my house, get out of my house’ and children screamed in the background. 

Two women, aged 18 and 48, and a 43-year-old man were charged in connection with assaulting police officers and threatening and abusive behaviour.

The footage immediately sparked controversy, with critics accusing the police of ‘oppressive’ behaviour for storming into a private house – while others argued they were just trying to enforce the Covid rules.  

At Euston, officers were seen stopping passengers this morning to ask where they were going. Barrister Alex Wright tweeted: ‘Good to see lockdown being taken seriously, but a sad sight that I’d have dreamed of seeing in London.’ 

Snowdonia National Park has now closed all its car parks to visitors to ‘protect our communities and the NHS’, as officials slammed the public for ‘disregarding’ the law. 

In an attempt to clarify the guidance, Leicester City Council’s public health director Professor Ivan Browne urged residents to visit ‘your nearest park, not your nicest park’, Leicester Live reported.

Ms Patel said it is ‘right’ for officers to confront Britons sat on park benches and argued that police should stop people and demand to know why they are outside their homes.

Speaking after her confrontation with police at the reservoir, Jessica Allen said she is taking the pandemic ‘very seriously’ as her brother is a doctor working on a Covid ward in London, and her parents have both had coronavirus.

She said she drove to the reservoir as she knew it would be less crowded than near her house. ‘I’m self-employed but my business is closed and I’m trying to fill my time,’ she said.

‘I suffer from anxiety and when you go by the water you feel so much better. I live on my own for five days a week and the only thing I’ve got to look forward to is planning a walk with my friend.’

She said brush with the law was ‘very intimidating’ and had left her feeling scared of the police.

‘Back to normal by autumn’: Professor Lockdown Neil Ferguson says high infection rate and mass vaccine rollout could see herd immunity achieved in the UK before the end of the year 

‘Professor Lockdown‘ Neil Ferguson has said high infection rates and the UK’s mass vaccine rollout could see herd immunity against the coronavirus achieved before the end of the year – meaning a return to normal by autumn.

Ferguson, whose grim predictions of 500,000 deaths in the UK convinced the government to implement the first lockdown, now says he is ‘optimistic’ about the country’s future in 2021.

Speaking to The Times, Ferguson said that he believes there will soon be a slowdown in infection rates, and perhaps even a decline – driven by high infection rates giving people immunity without the need for a jab.

‘That may be slightly aided by the fact there is quite a lot of herd immunity in places like London,’ he said. ‘Maybe 25% or 30% of the population has now been infected in the first wave and second wave. So that adds to the reduction of transmission.’

He also predicted that the Northwest of England – another area where large numbers have been infected – could also be on its way to herd immunity.

A policy of herd immunity – allowing the virus to spread through the population so people develop an immunity to the virus – was initially touted by some senior government figures, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

But when the potential cost to human life of following such a police was revealed, with Ferguson saying as many as 500,000 people could die as a result, the government changed their approach.

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‘I was so shook up afterwards,’ she said. ‘The fact they read my rights. I thought ‘Am I going to prison for going on a walk?’

‘I’m not a criminal but we were treated as if we were criminals and it really made me feel for those people who are wrongly arrested and questioned by police, because it wasn’t a nice situation to be in.’

Derbyshire Police said in a statement: ‘Driving to a location – where exercise could easily have been taken closer to a person’s home – is clearly not in the spirit of the national effort to reduce our travel, reduce the possible spread of the disease and reduce the number of deaths.

‘Each officer will use their professional judgement on a case-by-case basis, however, people should expect to be challenged and understand the clear reasons why they may be asked about their movements given the critical situation the NHS currently finds itself in.’

‘It is up to each individual officer on a case-by-case basis to decide what is reasonable as the legislation does not proscribe a distance.’

The College of Policing said: ‘In overall terms police officers across England and Wales will be using their discretion and professional judgement about whether or not someone has a reasonable excuse for travelling for exercise and being outside the place where they are living.’    

Local MP Andrew Bridgen tweeted: ‘I’m concerned that my constituents are facing fines from Derbyshire Police for taking exercise in what I would class as the local area. It is important that common sense is used when enforcing guidelines, and a fine rather than issuing guidance appears to be rather over zealous.’ 

It came as a video taken in Aberdeen at 11.20pm on Wednesday before being shared online showed a police officer standing inside the hallway of a home as a woman was held back by another man.

She said: ‘My house. That is bullying. This is my house. Get out of my house. I did not ask you in here.’

A young boy can be seen in the video as the woman’s daughter said: ‘Just stop it mum’. 

A police spokesman said: ‘We received a complaint from a member of the public regarding a breach of coronavirus regulations at a property in Aberdeen, around 11.20pm on Wednesday, 6 January, 2021. 

‘Officers attended and two women (aged 18 and 48) and a 43-year-old man were charged in connection with assaulting police officers and threatening and abusive behaviour and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal.’  

Just hours after Home Secretary Priti Patel threw her support behind the crackdown, it emerged that officers in Birmingham questioned a couple with pushchair to ask what business they had in town. 

In Ely, Cambridgeshire, disturbing pictures highlighting the harsh reality of lockdown 3.0 showed town-centre seats taped off to stop people using them.

Snowdonia National Park took the decision to close its car parks on Friday after an ‘increase’ in the number of people disregarding Covid rules.  

Five police officers surround a man at Hammersmith Tube Station in west London on Friday as part of a crackdown on people shunning lockdown

Five police officers surround a man at Hammersmith Tube Station in west London on Friday as part of a crackdown on people shunning lockdown

Five police officers surround a man at Hammersmith Tube Station in west London on Friday as part of a crackdown on people shunning lockdown

A police officer wearing a disposable face mask stopped a walker in an orange jacket to question their reason for being outside their home during lockdown in Birmingham City Centre

A police officer wearing a disposable face mask stopped a walker in an orange jacket to question their reason for being outside their home during lockdown in Birmingham City Centre

A police officer wearing a disposable face mask stopped a walker in an orange jacket to question their reason for being outside their home during lockdown in Birmingham City Centre

One MailOnline reader sent a picture of these taped off benches in Ely, Cambridgeshire, claiming they are not allowed to be used because of the pandemic

One MailOnline reader sent a picture of these taped off benches in Ely, Cambridgeshire, claiming they are not allowed to be used because of the pandemic

One MailOnline reader sent a picture of these taped off benches in Ely, Cambridgeshire, claiming they are not allowed to be used because of the pandemic

Two police officers knocked on a door in Aberdeen at 11.20pm on Wednesday after a member of the public reported a breach of coronavirus restrictions

Two police officers knocked on a door in Aberdeen at 11.20pm on Wednesday after a member of the public reported a breach of coronavirus restrictions

Footage shared online showed a police officer standing inside the hallway of a home as a woman was held back by another man

Footage shared online showed a police officer standing inside the hallway of a home as a woman was held back by another man

Two police officers knocked on a door in Aberdeen at 11.20pm on Wednesday after a member of the public reported a breach of coronavirus restrictions

How Derbyshire Police sent drones to film dog walkers and died a blue lagoon BLACK in heavy-handed Covid crackdown 

Derbyshire Constabulary has been behind a series of controversial actions during lockdown.

Its drone unit filmed walkers in the Peak District on March 26, three days after restrictions began.

It claimed the footage showed the stay at home message which was then in force was ‘still not getting through’.

Officers also put black dye in the Blue Lagoon, near Buxton, to deter swimming.

At the start of the lockdown in March, Chief constable Goodman defended his officer’s tactics and blamed the government, saying the emergency laws were ‘unclear’.

He also defended using drones to shame walkers, saying the methods were ‘slightly unusual’ but claimed other forces were implementing ‘more draconian measures’.

‘It is only in the event of people acting completely stupidly and not taking that advice that we have to use our powers,’ he told the Derby Telegraph.

Former Supreme Court justice Lord Sumption likened Derbyshire’s activities to a ‘police state’. 

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Officials said people could only take part in exercise that started and finished in their own home. 

Nigel Harrison, Temporary North Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable said: ‘We understand that people want to go outside to enjoy the mountains and snow, however this is a national emergency and we will continue to work with our National Park colleagues to ensure that Welsh Government restrictions around essential travel are adhered to.’

The World Physiques Gym in Mansfield was raided by police on Monday, with one person at the venue fined £1,000 and another £200 for breaching Covid guidelines. 

In Rochester, licencing officers forced the closure of the Hop and Rye pub after finding six people drinking on November 28 last year during the second lockdown.  

It came police spotted two maskless men getting out of a cab in Crewe at 3am on Friday before going into a shop and buying a case of beer. 

When approached by Cheshire Police officers they said they were ‘unaware’ of the lockdown and the way coronavirus is spread.

Under the national lockdown rules face masks must be worn in shops unless medically exempt from doing so.

A Cheshire Police spokesman said: ‘Officers had to report two men for breaching the lockdown regulations on Friday.

‘The officers were on patrol in Crewe at 3am when they spotted two men leaving a taxi without a face covering.

‘On leaving the shop, the officers approached the men to engage and explain the lockdown regulations while also reiterating the importance of wearing face coverings.

‘The men said they were not aware that a lockdown was in place and were also unaware of how their actions could result in the transmission of coronavirus to others.

Derbyshire Police has previously been criticised for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the restrictions. In March, officers put black dye into the blue lagoon in Hupur Hill, Buxton in order to deter visitors

Derbyshire Police has previously been criticised for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the restrictions. In March, officers put black dye into the blue lagoon in Hupur Hill, Buxton in order to deter visitors

Derbyshire Police has previously been criticised for its heavy-handed approach to enforcing the restrictions. In March, officers put black dye into the blue lagoon in Hupur Hill, Buxton in order to deter visitors

Derbyshire Constabulary drone unit controversially filmed walkers in the Peak District in March as part of its 'stay at home' message

Derbyshire Constabulary drone unit controversially filmed walkers in the Peak District in March as part of its 'stay at home' message

Derbyshire Constabulary drone unit controversially filmed walkers in the Peak District in March as part of its ‘stay at home’ message

Covid fines: How many were issued in your area? 

Here is the breakdown of fines issued by police forces in England between March 27 and December 20 for breaches of coronavirus laws.

– Avon and Somerset: 610

– Bedfordshire: 321

– British Transport Police (BTP): 452

– Cambridgeshire: 280

– Cheshire: 440

– City of London: 86

– Cleveland: 313

– Cumbria: 941

– Derbyshire: 301

– Devon and Cornwall: 1,233

– Dorset: 1,010

– Durham: 253

– Essex: 505

– Gloucestershire: 279

– Greater Manchester: 2,183

– Hampshire: 567

– Hertfordshire: 380

– Humberside: 169

– Kent: 270

– Lancashire: 1,506

– Leicestershire: 618

– Lincolnshire: 367

– Merseyside: 1,411

– Metropolitan Police: 1,761

– Ministry of Defence Police: 37

– Norfolk: 459

– North Yorkshire: 1,484

– Northamptonshire: 848

– Northumbria: 3,034

– Nottinghamshire: 906

– South Yorkshire: 673

– Staffordshire: 382

– Suffolk: 315

– Surrey: 573

– Sussex: 892

– Thames Valley: 965

– Warwickshire: 478

– West Mercia: 748

– West Midlands: 970

– West Yorkshire: 1,061

– Wiltshire: 208

Number of fines issued by police forces in Wales in the same time frame:

– BTP: 31

– Dyfed-Powys: 1,784

– Gwent: 295

– North Wales: 625

– South Wales: 856

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‘The officers told the men they would be receiving a fixed penalty notice (FPN) each for their blatant breaching of the coronavirus rules.’ 

Exercise and essential journeys are the only reasons people are allowed to leave their homes. 

In Crowborough, East Sussex, the local running track was closed yesterday due to the ban on sports venues. 

It came as a policeman was stopped by officers from his own force and asked where he was going during coronavirus lockdown.

Insp Lee Wiggan was on his way to a meeting at his police headquarters on Wednesday when he was asked to justify his movements by a police officer. It comes as cops said they will beef up the approach to lockdown breachers and impose £200 fines for anyone out without a valid reason.

Insp Wiggan – who covers the Ladywood East area of Birmingham – was on his way to the meeting in the city centre at the West Midlands Police Lloyd House HQ.   

It came as a furious pub owner has posted a sign on his parish hall notice board telling villager to ‘f*** off’, after being reported to the police.

Keith Waterhouse, who owns the Badger’s Holt in Bridgetown, Somerset, posted the note on Bridgetown Village Hall after police officers visited him after reports he was breaching Covid-19 rules the previous day.

The note read: ‘Whoever the nasty, vindictive b****** is that reports me to the police for a completely incorrect breach of Covid rules, have the b******* to talk to me first and find out the truth. 

Meanwhile, in London on Friday, one man who was stopped outside Hammersmith Tube station was asked to provide his name and address, which was written down and checked by officers, and the reason for his journey. The man was allowed to enter the station and continue travelling but refused to comment on whether he had been fined. 

One officer told MailOnline: ‘We’re all over the area to enforce Covid laws and make sure that people are out for the right reasons. If you’re not local or don’t have a valid reason to be out, then you will be fined.’

But the police officer revealed that they had not issued a single fine as most people have been adhering to the rules. saying: ‘I think the message is getting through that you should only be out for essential reasons’. 

In Birmingham on Friday, an exchange between two officers and a couple with a pushchair walking through the city centre only ended when the man produced cash from his pocket and told officers they were going to pay in money at a bank.

The pedestrian, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I don’t know why they picked on us. 

‘They just asked why we were in the city centre and when I explained about the bank they left it at that. I think it’s just a matter of control really.’

The same pair of Police Community Support Officers then quizzed two men languishing by a shop doorway and threatened one with a £250 fine if he did not leave.

Isaac, 33 – who only provided his first name – said: ‘I have to come into the city centre to pick up my methadone from Boots pharmacy.

‘During the first lockdown they would give us two weeks worth so as to stop us making so many trips out but this time they are only giving it to last a day so we will have to be back tomorrow.

‘The officers were very fair because my friend is not really allowed in the city centre and could have been given a £250 fine on the spot and not just a warning.’ 

His friend Luke, 34 – who also declined to supply a surname – added: ‘Methadone is not something you want to be picking up in your local area so I come to the city centre.

‘These officers were fair. They told us not to hang around and to make our way home. 

‘Another officer would have taken a much harder approach.’ 

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