Brits caught defying the coronavirus lockdown will be slapped with on-the-stop £30 fines by police and could end up in court if they don’t pay.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson last night declared the UK was going into lockdown with immediate effect in a draconian bid to fight the coronavirus crisis.
People are no longer allowed to leave their home unless it’s for shopping, one form of exercise a day, for medical or care needs, or to travel to and from work.
All non-essential shops have also been shut down, and public gatherings of more than two people have been banned for at least the next three weeks.
And now Downing Street has confirmed that the punishment for those found breaking the lockdown rules will be a £30 fine which could rise “significantly”.
It said the fines will be a civil matter not criminal, but that failure to pay them could see offenders end up with a criminal conviction.
The Prime Minister's spokesman said: "It will initially start at £30 but we will keep this under review and can increase it significantly if it is necessary to ensure public compliance, which is of vital importance to save lives.”
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He added that police work will specifically focus “on the dispersal of groups” who gather in breach of the lockdown.
The powers to issue fines will come under the Public Heath (Control of Diseases) Act 1994.
The PM's spokesman added: “The overwhelming majority of the public can be expected to follow the rules without any need for enforcement action.
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“Failure to pay the notice could be subject to criminal proceedings and a summary conviction.
“I haven’t specified an upper limit… if necessary we can increase it significantly.”
Number 10 also confirmed today that people must not visit their boyfriend's or girlfriend's house if they don't live together under the lockdown rules.
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