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Coronavirus: Woman fined £650 for refusing to tell police why she was out

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A woman has been arrested by police and has been fined a whooping £650 for breaking the new Coronavirus law.

It is believed to be the highest fine issued within the UK relating to Coronavirus.

The woman was arrested and taken before magistrates who have now fined her £650 in what is believed to be the first case of it’s kind within the United Kingdom.

Marie Dinou aged 41 from York refused to tell police her reason for essential travel when she was located on a platform at Newcastle Railway Station.

Officers arrested her for breaching the new Coronavirus Act and ticket fraud she was fast tracked and appeared in court two days later where she pleaded guilty of both offences.

She was fined £85 for ticket fraud and then £650 for breaking the new COVID-19 regulations on leaving home without reasonable excuse. She was also ordered to pay £80 costs, by North Tyneside Magistrates.

British Transport Police said in a statement: “On Saturday 28 March at around 8am, officers at Newcastle Central station received a report from rail staff of a woman loitering between platforms.

“They approached Dinou and engaged with her in an attempt to understand her reasons for essential travel, but following several more attempts by officers to explain and encourage she refused to speak to officers.

“Having explored all options, Dinou was arrested on suspicion of travel fraud and breaching the restrictions imposed under the new Coronavirus Act 2020.”

Under the new law police can issue £60 on-the-spot fines to anyone leaving their home without reasonable excuse if they refuse a request to go home.

Reasonable excuses include shopping for basic needs, exercising and ‘absolutely necessary’ travel to and from work.

But police suspects can also be arrested and charged with breaking the new laws brought in last month in the wake of the pandemic.

BTP’s Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “While a ticket offence had also been committed in this case, enforcement of any sort under the new regulations really is a last resort, especially arrest.

“In this case, officers tried their upmost best to engage with Dinou. I can assure you we would much rather not have to take such action.”

“We strongly urge the public to do the right thing and help us save lives by staying at home and slowing the spread of the virus.”

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Trevor Sherwood
Trevor Sherwood
Trevor Sherwood is the editor and news reporter covering national and international news crime and policing news. Tweet your news and views to @TrevSherwoodPH

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