300 fines handed out in one week for Covid breaches in West Midlands

More than 300 fines have been issued to people in the West Midlands in one week for breaching coronavirus rules.

Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Waheed Saleem said 331 fines were issued by officers in the region.

A total of 3,747 people were given directions to leave and 1,966 calls from the public were made over the breaches.

Mr Saleem said: “We’re seeing an increase in activity over the weekend, for instance last weekend the police attended 135 Covid breaches – issued 59 £200, 36 £800 fines and 1 £10,000 fine. The majority relate to house parties, student parties and shisha lounges.

“Let me be clear to anyone thinking of setting one up [shisha lounge] – we will find you, we will shut you down and we will fine you.

“We’ve also seen an increased used of Airbnb bookings been used for illegal parties and I want to urge people advertising their property to undertake checks to know who they are letting and urge Airbnb to do their bit and take responsibility to police the bookings more effectively.

“I’m disappointed we are attending a number of student parties – but we are working with universities to send a very strong message to students on the importance of following the rules.

“I’m sure students can spend their time more wisely studying or volunteering in the fight against Covid-19.”

It comes as council leaders across the West Midlands have come together to call on the Government to hand them tougher powers – allowing them to crackdown on shops flouting the restrictions.

Birmingham City Council's leader Ian Ward said: "While we remain keen to work with food retailers, there must be consequences for continued non-compliance.

"We need the power to rapidly issue improvement notices to supermarkets and other retailers and close them quickly in the event of repeated breaches which endanger both staff and customers.

"These powers, which are available to local authorities in Wales, would cover a wide range of safety measures, including controlling the number of customers, provision of sanitiser, check-out screens and appropriate social-distancing within supermarkets."

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