Police hand out 11 Covid fines for illegal indoor gatherings in North Yorkshire over 'very busy' Easter Bank Holiday

Just 11 fines for Covid breaches were handed out over the Easter Bank Holiday in North Yorkshire - with 10 of those given out in Scarborough.

North Yorkshire Police said that it had been a quiet weekend with fines only being handed out for illegal indoor gatherings, with all but one of them coming on the Yorkshire coast.

Superintendent Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police lead for the force’s Covid response told a meeting of the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum this morning that it was “encouraging” that the number of fines had dropped so dramatically.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He said in the last seven days just 14 fines had been issued, down from 170 the week before despite the “very busy” bank holiday.

10 of the 11 fines were handed out in the Scarborough borough

Mr Walker said: “It is pleasing that the rightfully careful and cautious Step 1 of the Government’s road map out of lockdown has gone well in our area.

“This is testament to the outstanding partnership working we have in North Yorkshire and the City of York, plus the invaluable support from our communities who have experienced the collective effort to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.

Join our coronavirus Facebook group for the latest confirmed news and advice as soon as we get it

“As we move to Step 2 of the road map on Monday April 12, it is now more important than ever to keep following the health protection measures while the vaccination programme is rolled out.

“There is still no mixing of households allowed indoors until at least May 17 under Step 3, and the ‘rule of 6’ or two households remains in place regarding outdoor gatherings, including in private gardens.

“Our policing teams will be promoting adherence to these rules while on targeted and highly visible patrols.

“We will continue to use our ‘4 Es’ approach to engage with the public, explain the regulations, encourage compliance, and enforce only as a last resort when a blatant breach has occurred.

“Officers and PCSOs will also be on hand to support our local authority, trading standards and licensing partners during checks on businesses such as pubs and restaurants, who be able to provide outdoor hospitality from April 12.”

Mr Walker said there was no clear reason why more fines were being handed out in Scarborough but said that people in the area had been reporting breaches to officers.

He added: “Clearly in Scarborough there has been a great deal of concern raised regarding household gatherings and people travelling into the area during the lockdown.

“So we will continue to have a responsive approach to these issues, which explains to some degree [the number of fines] but other than that it is something we may look back at over the next 12 months to see if there was a particular problem in Scarborough.

“At this time, it is just a big thank you to the public who have clearly found it unacceptable that their neighbours and others are still having indoor gatherings and have contacted us and we have issued fixed penalty notices.”