Coronavirus news: West Mercia Police warns of £200 fines for throwing snowballs | UK | News (Reports)

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West Mercia Constabulary issued the warning following reports of snowballs “being thrown at the homes of elderly and vulnerable residents” late at night. Mo Lansdale, superintendent for Shropshire, branded the behaviour “disgraceful”.

The force wrote on Twitter: “There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 11.30pm.

“This is obviously not a justifiable reason to be out of your house, this behaviour is likely to result in a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking the lockdown rules.”

They later added: “This behaviour is not acceptable at any time.”

Superintendent Lansdale said: “In relation to last night’s incidents we are speaking to a number of people to identify who the three individuals involved were.

“At this time, no one has been spoken to or issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.

“At this time, no one has been spoken to or issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.

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“The pandemic is stressful enough for people, particularly those that are more vulnerable, without them being made to feel worse and isolated in their own homes as a result of disgraceful anti-social behaviour.”

Police have issued more than 30,000 fines since the start of Covid restrictions in March, figures reveal.

In total, 32,329 fixed penalty notices were handed out in England and Wales between March 27 and December 21.

The warning comes as Derbyshire Police said they plan to review all fixed penalty notices issued during the latest national lockdown.

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It followed criticism after two women, Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, were fined £200 each for a walk at a remote spot, Foremark Reservoir, around five miles from their homes.

Police alleged they had breached lockdown laws, and Ms Allen told the BBC the officers said two peppermint teas purchased at Starbucks were classed “as a picnic”.

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The force had said the women could have taken exercise closer to their home addresses, and described their actions as “clearly not in the spirit of the national effort” to reduce travel and the possible spread of coronavirus.

Ms Allen told the BBC: “As we drove in there was a police van, a police car, and there were loads of police there.

“I genuinely thought someone had been murdered; the place is normally so quiet.

“The next thing, my car is surrounded. I got out of my car thinking ‘There’s no way they’re coming to speak to us’. Straight away they start questioning us.

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“I said we had come in separate cars, even parked two spaces away and even brought our own drinks with us. He said ‘You can’t do that as it’s classed as a picnic’.”

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In a statement on Friday, Derbyshire Constabulary said it had received further guidance the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) which had clarified that the “Covid regulations which officers enforce and which enables them to issue FPNs (fixed penalty notices) for breaches, do not restrict the distance travelled for exercise”.

The force said: “All fixed penalty notices during this relevant period that have been issued will be reviewed for compliance.

“All recipients will be contacted.”

Lockdown guidance instructs exercise should be limited to once per day, and says people can leave their home but not travel outside the local area.

Exercise is permitted within a group from the same property or one-on-one with someone from another household.

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