Croydon tattoo artist fined £1,400 for opening during third lockdown

·3-min read
Westminster Magistrates Court (file photo) (Google Street View)
Westminster Magistrates Court (file photo) (Google Street View)

The boss of a Croydon tattoo parlour who insisted he is “not subject to any Covid laws” has been fined £1,400 for staying open during the third national lockdown.

Terry Brown, 38, was prosecuted after police officers spotted customers being tattooed behind the blinds at Tales of Inkspiration in January.

Westminster magistrates court heard Brown was “hostile” when first questioned by officers, refusing to confirm his name, denying them access to the premises and insisting that he is “a free man exercising his rights”.

PC Thomas Rowlatt returned to the tattoo parlour the following day, on January 14, and peered through a gap in the blinds to see inside.

“Though the windows had been lined with a black material there was a slight gap which facilitated me seeing an Asian male sat in a studio chair with the top half of his body exposed and his right arm exposed on the arm of the chair,” the police officer said in a statement.

Brown ignored the police knocking on the door, and when told he could face prosecution he “stated he was a free man and not subject to any Covid laws”, police said.

The country had been plunged into a post-Christmas national lockdown in response to rapidly rising Covid-19 infections, with a ban on non-essential businesses opening.

In an Instagram video posted four days after the run-in with police, Brown railed against a member of the public who reported him for breaking the lockdown, and insisted the Covid-19 lockdowns are “destroying lives”.

“The lockdown is actually illegal, it’s unlawful,” he said.

He did not engage with the court process, and was ordered to pay a £1,400 fine as well as £250 in court costs and fees after being convicted in absence of failing to close a non-essential business.

In a separate prosecution, Noor Ahmed, 37, has been fined £1,400 for allowing up to 100 customers to be at the Sky Lounge in Acton in December last year.

“Once I had walked into the premises, I saw group of young people sitting in breach of the Covid restrictions smoking shisha and no food was being served at the time,” PC Mehdi Mehrali told the court.

In a third case, Al-Har Chaudhry, 63, the manager of TKC restaurant in Southall Broadway was issued with a £1,400 fine for hosting a wedding party on November 1 last year.

PC Harleen Gill spotted the party behind a curtain at the back of the premises, with around 100 guests sitting down to a buffet dinner.

“There were people sat on every table in the room and I could see a woman in the back of the room wearing traditional red bridal clothing and what I assumed to be the groom sat next to here on a couch fashioned as a throne.”

It took police almost an hour to break up the illegal wedding party, the court heard, which ended with the bride being ushered into a waiting car.

Chaudhry also did not engage with the court process and was convicted in his absence of carrying out a restricted business.

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