THOUSANDS of people have been fined in East Lancashire since the country was placed into lockdown during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the latest data 4,539 fixed penalty notices have been issued to people in the county over the 13-month period between March 2020 and April 2021.

Of those, 72 were issued to people who refused to wear face coverings while in a public place indoors, 55 to those who breached international travel regulations and 28 to those who broke business regulations.

Eleven fines have been issued to people involved in gatherings of 30 or more people.  

The remaining number of fines were issued for a number of reasons – from being outdoors without a reasonable excuse during the strictest period of lockdown to unnecessary domestic travel and holding smaller gatherings.

A number of those people have recently been hit with fines at in Lancashire’s magistrates court for breaking Covid rules.

Failing to self-isolate on return from non-exempt country

Mohammad Rafi Khan, 53, has been dealt with by the courts after he admitted failing to self-isolate for 14 days upon return from a trip to Germany in December.

In December Khan of Warwick Drive, Brierfield, was caught outside of the place where he was supposed to be in self-isolation after arriving to the country.

He was fined £421, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £42 and must pay court costs of £90.

Failing to wear a face covering within, or leave, a relevant place

A Blackburn man was fined more than £2,000 for refusing to wear a face mask in November while he was at a location where it was a legal requirement to do so.

Shahzab Malik, of Whalley New Road, refused to wear a face covering despite being ordered to do so.

The 25-year-old was dealt with by Magistrates at the end of April, where he was ordered to pay a total of £2,026.

Failing to close a restricted business or service

A pub landlord has been dealt with by the courts after pleading guilty to being open at a time when venues had been forced to close.

On November 8, Stuart Parkinson was dealt with by police for opening a public house without reasonable excuse during the pandemic. On April 27, he appeared at Preston Magistrates Court.

The 41-year-old of Montgomery Close admitted the breach and was fined and ordered to pay costs amounting to £1,036.

Failing to close a restricted business or service

In November, Alistair Fitzharris was dealt with by the police for failing to close his Accrington hair and beauty salon.

The 27-year-old appeared at Preston Magistrates Court on April 27 where he was dealt with for the breach.

Fitzharris, of Spout House Lane, was fined £2,640.00. He was also ordered to pay a £181.00 victim surcharge and costs of £90.

Participate in an indoor gathering

A 21-year-old must pay more than £2,000 in fines and costs after she was found guilty of attending a party during lockdown.

Ema Jankovicova of Cleaver Street, Burnley, participated in the gathering at a location on the same street in November.

In April, she appeared at Preston Magistrates where she was fined £1,760 and ordered to pay costs and a surcharge amounting to £266.

Participate in outdoor gathering

A Blackburn man was ordered to pay over £1,000 for participating in an outdoor gathering with more than two people during lockdown.

In November during the height of lockdown restrictions, Fayaz Seedat was caught breaching the rules on Robinson Street in the town.

The 26-year-old appeared at Magistrates on April 27 after pleading guilty to the offence.

Seedat of Beardsworth Street was fined £1,066 and ordered to pay a £106 victim surcharge. He must also pay costs of £106.

The total processed in England is now 99,742 and 10,580 in Wales.

Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, said: “We’re continuing to take encouraging steps out of lockdown. The number of fines processed have gone down again in the past four weeks, which is to be expected as restrictions are lifted.

“All of our hard work and sacrifice is paying off, and to ensure we continue to move in this direction, it’s important we keep the threat of COVID-19 at the forefront of our minds and stick to the rules at each stage of the roadmap.

“Despite these good signs, there are still a small number of people who blatantly disregard the rules, attending and organising large gatherings, such as illegal parties or unlicensed music events. Forces up and down the country have shut down a number of these selfish and unsafe events, and officers won’t let up in their efforts over the coming weeks.

“The same applies for large indoor gatherings, and any person who organises or attends these can also expect to be fined.

“Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend, I also want to remind everyone that there are still limits on how many people can meet up in groups outside. As the weather has improved and restrictions have eased, we have seen several large gatherings in outdoor spaces, most commonly in parks.

“I understand that people are excited to see their friends and family again after such a long time, but it really is vital people continue to follow the rules at each stage of the government’s roadmap or we risk undermining our efforts up to now.

“Our officers will continue to carry out patrols and will engage with the public to keep explaining the restrictions which remain in place at the time.”