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Thursday, Feb 25, 2021

14 people fined for repeatedly trying to leave UK during lockdown

14 people fined for repeatedly trying to leave UK during lockdown

More than a dozen people have been slapped with £200 fines for attempting to leave the country in breach of coronavirus regulations.

Kent Police stopped more than 50 people at the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel between November 12 and November 15.

Some of those who were stopped were in groups of more than two and mixing with other households

They were attempting to reach Europe despite the ban on overseas travel and did not have a reasonable excuse for leaving the country, police said.

While some cars turned back, 14 people were fined for ‘blatantly’ disregarding the rules after being advised to go home.

One car carrying eight people in it – from two separate families – was stopped at the Port of Dover for attempting to travel from London to Bulgaria.

Police at the terminal also spoke to the occupants of three other cars, each containing two people, from Leicester, Birmingham and Thetford.

Officers reminded them all of their responsibilities and encouraged them to adhere to the current guidelines.

People are banned from leaving the country under lockdown restrictions

However, all four cars attempted to leave the country via the Channel Tunnel instead, resulting in 13 people being hit with a £200 penalty.

In addition, officers at the Channel Tunnel stopped and spoke to a man from London who was trying to travel to France.

He was given advice but then left and attempted to cross at the port shortly afterwards.

The current restrictions are in place until December 2, when the tiered lockdown system is expected to return – though Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday that it was ‘too early’ to say when lockdown will end.

Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix reminded people of the rules.

She said: ‘The Government has made it very clear that the best way to support the NHS and save lives is to stay at home and it is our job to ensure people are respecting the measures designed to protect everyone.

‘Until December 2, people should only be leaving home for the reasons the Government has listed, which includes – for example – work, exercise, medical appointments, food and caring for vulnerable people.

‘Everyone should familiarise themselves with the full list of exemptions and understand what is expected of them at this time.’

Constable Nix added that in most situations, breaches can be resolved without having to issue a fine.

But she said in cases where people ‘blatantly disregard advice and refuse to comply’, police are left with ‘no choice but to take enforcement action’.

She added: ‘In Kent we will continue to police in a sensible, proportionate and fair manner and ask that everyone continues to take personal responsibility for controlling the spread of the virus and protect themselves from harm.’


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