Police called to 8,000 breaches in first lockdown, say they’ll be tougher this time
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More than 8,000 reports of people breaking lockdown rules were recorded by Norfolk police up until October, as officers dealt with sunbathers, revellers and people eating in pub gardens.
Police were called to lockdown breaches 8,415 times between March 31 and October and handed out 424 fines.
More than half of all reports were recorded in April, the latest figures show.
The numbers do not include the second lockdown, which began last Thursday, but police said this time they would take a tougher stance.
Temporary assistant chief constable Julie Wvendth said last week: “This time around, officers will look to engage and establish people’s circumstances in a fair, sensible and proportionate manner.
“However, we cannot waste time with endless encouragement for people who are knowingly and blatantly breaking the rules.
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“These people leave us with no other option and can expect to receive a fixed penalty notice.”
Last week, the owners of the Lily-Mai’s restaurant on New Street in Cromer were fined after failing to make sure customers remained seated while eating and drinking.
Meanwhile in Norwich, four people were given fixed penalty notices after breaking the rule of six over the Halloween weekend.
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Three were related to a party while the fourth was in connection with a protest.
The force said that during the first lockdown they were alerted to potential breaches hundreds of times during the first weekend of April and issued warnings to people holding barbeques with 10 guests and sunbathers in Norwich’s Chapelfield Gardens.
The most reports in a single day was on Saturday April 11, when police were contacted 445 times.
Warnings were also issued in April to people caught buying takeaway food and eating it in a pub garden.
A further 2,713 reports were made to police in May – the only other month where more than 1,000 reports were made.
In June, a week before lockdown restrictions were eased, the Broads Authority said its waterside locations were overwhelmed with visitors enjoying picnics and barbeques, and published a plea for people to continue following social distancing rules.
And last month, three University of East Anglia students were each fined £10,000 for throwing a party on Bowthorpe Road for 100 people.
Suffolk police, meanwhile, were alerted to lockdown breaches 5,879 times between March 27 and October 7 and handed out 291 fines.