Kent Police officers issued 30 fines over the weekend, which included breaches at the ports, people failing to isolate, gatherings outside and indoors and unnecessary trips into the county.
On Saturday, 9 January police on foot patrol broke up a party at a business premises in Military Road, Ramsgate. The officers heard loud music coming from the venue and a number of raised voices. On investigation they found a party was underway. On being dispersed the attendees went on to hug and kiss each other. A man and woman were fined £200 each.
There were also a number of people fined who ignored officers’ warnings regarding breaches in legislation. On the same day as the Ramsgate party a man was given a fixed penalty notice after officers stopped him in Palm Bay Avenue, Cliftonville. He said he had travelled from Lancashire via London and was down visiting friends and unaware of the restrictions.
Officers fined him and told him to return home to his address. His vehicle was found later in the evening in Clarendon Road and it transpired he had not followed advice and continued his journey to visit a friend. Officers issued him with a second fine as a result, totalling up to £400.
The same day a car was stopped by a patrol in Brookfield Road, Ashford. The driver told the officers that her and her partner had driven from the Essex area to pick up a remote-controlled car that she had bought via a social media site, they were fined £200.
Three people were fined after being stopped in Lower High Street, Ashford. They had previously been warned about congregating in a large group and stated they had understood the warning. However within hours they were located again and fined £200 each.
Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: “The vast majority of Kent residents continue to do the right thing and are following the rules, helping to protect the NHS and ultimately save lives.
“Unfortunately, there are still some people who think it is acceptable to throw parties, gather outside in large numbers or commit other serious breaches of Covid-19 regulations. Holidays within the UK and abroad are also prohibited unless for permitted reasons and, despite this advice, seven people attempted to cross the Channel at the weekend without valid reasons and were fined as a result.
“The Government has been very clear that the best way to protect everyone is to stay at home as part of this third national lockdown and no one should be attempting holidays or breaching other rules, not just for their own protection but to prevent the spread of the virus. I am urging all Kent residents to visit the government website and know what is acceptable at this time. Anyone who is permitted to travel abroad should also obtain a negative Covid-19 test prior to departure. Anyone who turns up at the ports without one will also be turned away.
“It is also unacceptable that officers around the county are still finding some individuals organising or attending house parties with no regard for the seriousness of this pandemic.
“In these situations we will have no choice but to take enforcement action. People doing this are not only putting their own lives at risk but that of anyone they meet, some of whom will be extremely vulnerable. Anyone who flagrantly or repeatedly breaks the rules at a time when there is so much pressure on Kent’s health services should be left in no doubt that action will be taken against them.”