A man has been handed a £500 fine for refusing to obey coronavirus lockdown rules, despite warnings from police.
Steven Mackie, 53, was arrested outside a Tesco store in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, on Saturday after flouting emergency restrictions twice within the space of 15 minutes.
The draconian measures put in place by Boris Johnson are an attempt to slow the spread of Covid-19 and mean that people can only leave their homes for very limited purposes.
Stockport Magistrates’ Court heard that police were called to the store at about 5.30pm to reports of a man acting in an anti-social manner outside as he approached queuing members of the public.
After offering no reasonable explanation as to why he was there, Mackie was escorted home in a police van. He he began kicking and punching the inside of the vehicle, telling officers he would return to Tesco “no matter what they said”.
Police arrested him after he went back to the store at 5.45pm and again refused to stay two metres apart from the public, saying: “I can do what I want.”
At the police station, Mackie claimed to have maintained social distancing, adding: “What a waste of money and time this is. Six officers attending, have you got nothing else better to do?”
He today pleaded guilty to one count of failing to maintain public health and causing public disorder and nuisance.
Defence lawyer Kirsten Collins said Mackie regrets his “stupid decision” and is “embarrassed by his own behaviour” - she said there was a history of mental health issues and that Mackie intended to seek assistance.
The maximum penalty for the offence under the new law is an unlimited fine but Ms Collins asked magistrates to impose a fine the defendant, who is unemployed, could afford. She said a large penalty would “leave him with even less money and less options”.
Mackie apologised from the dock to magistrate Neill Brettell, who dismissed the apology as “a little bit late”.
“What happens if you have infected anybody? No-one likes to self isolate. No-one likes the lockdown. But the majority of people know it is going to help save lives.”
Mackie was also ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £50 victim surcharge.
He will pay the total amount in weekly instalments of £5 and could face jail if the sum is not paid on time each week.
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