Police reveal most 'outrageous excuses' used to break COVID laws

Will Taylor
·News Reporter
·2-min read
 Police officers are seen with pulled down facemasks as they relax. A change in policy has meant that in some situations where social distancing is impossible, Police at demonstrations will wear Protective face masks. A spokesperson said: "If officers cannot maintain a two metre gap and where there is a possible risk of infection, our policy is now that officers will wear a facemask, which all officers have readily available." (Photo by Keith Mayhew / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Police have revealed people's 'outrageous excuses' for breaking lockdown rules. (Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/Sipa USA)

Police have revealed the most “outrageous” excuses used by people who break coronavirus laws, including two people who travelled from London to Hove to buy headphones.

Sussex Police said it received 776 COVID-related calls in the last week, most relating to businesses that stayed open, households mixing or parties, while officers gave out 192 fines.

Among the other cases was a woman who travelled from the capital to Brighton for a photo shoot, a group who gathered in the village of Forest Row despite being warned not to, and attendees of a 21st birthday party in Brighton.

The force said their reasons amounted to “outrageous excuses”.

Other calls included a bus driver who was spat at when he asked someone to wear a mask, the force said.

Read more: Group of 31 police officers who got haircuts on duty all face £200 lockdown fines

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Superintendent Julia Pope said: “In the last week we have had to issue 192 fixed penalty notices, which, considering we have been in a pandemic for almost a year now, is completely unacceptable – and some people are making light of their reasons for being out and about.

“When you see the shocking videos of people battling COVID, having lost a loved one or NHS colleagues on their knees, I think most people would support this view.

“The vast majority of the fines we have issued have been for those attending house parties, meeting up with friends and family indoors or travelling without a reasonable excuse.”

Watch: Police find man in boot during 320-mile lockdown trip

She said the Forest Row incident was the second illegal gathering there and that the group was told last week they were breaching COVID laws.

A 61-year-old man was arrested for failing to comply with officers.

He appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 2 February and given a £50 fine for obstructing a police constable and pleaded guilty to breaching COVID legislation.

“We acknowledge the frequently changing legislation can sometimes make it difficult for everyone to fully understand what you can and cannot do and this is why our officers will always first engage with people, explaining the rules and regulations and encourage people to change their behaviour accordingly,” Supt Pope said.

“We urge everyone to take responsibility for their actions and do the right thing by following the legislation and where there are breaches, fines will be issued.”

Watch: What you can and can’t do in lockdown