Five men jailed on Isle of Man after going to Tesco instead of self-isolating

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Isle of Man Courts of Justice in Douglas.  Douglas, Isle of Man.
The men were each handed 14-day prison sentences. (Getty)

Five welders have been jailed for over a combined two months after breaking strict social distancing rules in the Isle of Man.

The men, aged between 18 and 62, were required to self isolate for 14 days after travelling to the island from Heysham, Lancashire on September 29, according to the BBC.

Christopher Lafayette, 62, Jack Smith, 18, Michael Smith, 43, Robbie Rhodes, 18, and Luke Fletcher, 22, were due to undertake two days of maintenance work on the Manx Electric Railway for Haigh Rail.

But instead of driving straight to their accommodation the group went to a Tesco supermarket to buy alcohol.

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They were reported by a local who overheard one of them saying “I've just got off the boat” and were arrested later that evening, according to local media reports.

All five defendants, from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with Covid-19 restrictions under the Emergency Powers Act.

They were each given 14 days behind bars after appearing before magistrates via video link.

Read more: Woman jailed for stopping to fill up her car under Isle of Man coronavirus rules

Helen Smith, 38, wife of Michael, 43, and mother to Jack, 18, told the Mirror: “They've been treated like serious criminals when the sensible thing was to have a word in their ear.

“It makes me so angry to think they're in jail yet politicians break rules and get away with it.”

Sentencing them to 14 days jail, magistrate chairman Belinda Pilling said the men had “closed their eyes” to the rules.

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