Covid fines issued to lockdown flouting car enthusiasts in Kirkby

Fifteen people were slapped with fines for flouting coronavirus lockdown restrictions at a car meet in Kirkby.

Tuesday, 12th January 2021, 1:51 pm

Police were called to a car park at Portland Park shortly after 10pm on Sunday (January 10) where multiple vehicles had gathered.

On arrival officers found ten cars and issued fixed penalty notices to 15 people who were present. They will each have to pay a fine of £200.

Under current national restrictions people are required to stay at home unless they are shopping for necessities, going to work where they can’t work from home, exercising, seeking medical assistance or avoiding harm or attending education or child care.

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Police were called to a car park at Portland Park, Kirkby, shortly after 10pm on Sunday where multiple vehicles had gathered.

Car meets are organised gatherings where enthusiasts get together with their modified or high-performance vehicles and are not permitted under lockdown.

Inspector Nick Butler, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “No police officer wants to be handing out fines to people for engaging in activities that seem perfectly normal.

"But we aren’t in normal times; we are at a moment of national crisis and we won’t hesitate to enforce the rules when we see people flouting them so brazenly.

“The current restrictions really aren’t hard to understand so there really was no excuse for what we found. We expect people to remain at home in all but a few exceptional circumstances. Meeting your friends to admire each others’ vehicles definitely does not count as one of those.

“What the young people involved in this incident need to understand is that their actions really can play a direct role in spreading this virus. They may not be concerned about the risks to themselves but I would urge them to think about the risk to their parents, grandparents and other vulnerable people they may come into contact with.”

Over the last seven days 417,570 people in the UK have been infected with Coronavirus and 6,363 have died – bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to more than 80,000.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper said: “Since the start of this pandemic we have been working to on the four E’s principle – that we will take enforcement action only after we have engaged, explained and encouraged people to comply with the rules. That approach has worked very well and I would like to thank the vast majority people who have made the necessary sacrifices to comply the restrictions.

“However, the gravity of the current situation means that we are now far more likely to move to enforcement earlier, especially when breaches are as blatant as this. This should send a very clear message and to keep people safe.

“We understand that this is a very difficult time for everyone but we are now in a very challenging situation as a country where the NHS faces the every real prospect of being overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. As police officers we must do all that we can to keep people safe. If that means issuing more fines to people who flout the rules then that is exactly what we will do.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.