TRAVEL rule-breakers in Lancashire have been on the receiving end of more fines than anywhere else in the country, the latest figures show.

Thirteen holidaymakers have been slapped with a fixed penalty notice after they flouted rules put in place to stop those entering the UK from spreading the coronavirus.

At present, people returning to England from any country not on the travel corridor list - including Spain, France, Portugal and some Greek Islands - must self-isolate for 14 days.

The 13 fines dished out across Lancashire up to September 22 were significantly higher than anywhere else in the country, accounting for more than a third of the total number of fines, 38, dished out nationally.

The latest figures released by the National Police Chiefs Council also revealed that at least 828 people have now been on the receiving end of a fine for breaching general lockdown restrictions since the start of the outbreak in March, with 38 new fines dished out in the last month.

Deputy leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, Cllr Phil Riley said: “The truth of the matter is that the regulations aren’t working and whether that is because people are confused or because they are ignoring them is a matter of debate.

“There is no question that the regulations are complicated and the way they have been introduced has been piecemeal. In some circumstances, people can be forgiven for not understanding them.”

Cllr Riley added: “Some of the breaches are straight forward. The story of guaranteeing is and easy one and people know what they should do. The problem is people aren’t taking this as seriously as they should and that is illustrated in the numbers of cases we are seeing across Lancashire.”

Last week it was reported that a Darwen woman had been fined £1,000 after she failed to quarantine when she returned from a trip to Amsterdam.

The woman, who is in her 20s, was visited by officers from Greater Manchester Police after they discovered she had returned to her job at a high school in Bolton despite only flying back from Amsterdam two days earlier.

Nationally, police forces are expecting the number of lockdown fines handed out to members of the public to rise despite thousands of penalty noticed already issued going unpaid.

This came as figures showed that of 18,646 enforcement letters sent out in England and Wales, 9,428 resulting fines had been paid, while 9,413 had not.

Martin Hewitt, National Police Chiefs’ Council Chairman said: “We anticipate there will be an increase obviously as regulations are introduced in different parts of the country.

“The FPNs were designed in the way that a number of other FPNs are and every individual has the right to decide not to pay that fine and elect to go to court and plead their case.”

Locally, Lancashire police bosses continued to urge everyone to play their part in keeping down the numbers in what has become the most infected place in the country.

A spokesman said: “The North West currently has some of the highest coronavirus infection rates in the country and every one of us has a part to play in following government advice to help reduce those numbers.

“At Lancashire Police we have always been clear that our aim is to support our communities to comply with the restrictions by engaging, explaining and encouraging. The vast majority of people are fully complying with the guidance and we thank them for helping to stop the spread of the virus. However when faced with non-compliance or serious breaches where public health is at risk we will enforce as a last resort.”