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Four hit with fines for breaching lockdown rules in ABC borough in past week

The figures were revealed as fresh appeals were made to stay home ahead of the Bank Holiday Weekend next Friday

Four people were fined for breaching lockdown rules in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council in the past week.

A total of 19 fines were issued across Northern Ireland between last Friday, April 24, and today, (Friday) May 1.

As well as Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon, four were also issued in Newry, Mourne and Down and Belfast City Council areas.

The remaining seven were across the other council areas.

A total of 69 Community Resolution Notices (CRNs) were also applied over the same timeframe.

There were no CRNs issued in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, with six in neighbouring Newry, Mourne and Down.

The highest number was in Antrim and Newtownabbey – 17 – which was one more than Belfast’s 16 CRNs.

To date, since the end of March, a total of 377 fines were issued across Northern Ireland along with 639 CRNs.

Powers granted to PSNI in March mean that if a person commits an offence of failing to comply with any such direction or restriction imposed on them without reasonable excuse, officers will consider an appropriate disposal.

That may initially be advice and guidance or a Community Resolution Notice (CRN).

However, if required police will enforce this legislation and issue a penalty notice of £60.

The figures were revealed as fresh appeals were made for people to stay home over the Bank Holdiay weekend, which begins next Friday, and not to take risks.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd said: “The simple health advice is to stay at home and only leave home when it is absolutely essential.

“People are permitted to leave their homes for essential matters such as to seek medical assistance, obtain basic necessities including food and medical supplies, provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, donate blood, to attend a funeral of a member of the person’s household or close family member.

“It is also reasonable to travel for the purpose of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services where it not reasonably possible for that person to work or provide those services from their home. Essential travel does not however include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar. People should stay in their main place of residence.

“I appreciate, as do my colleagues in An Garda Síochána, that the forthcoming bank holidays weekends are traditionally busy when people would visit family, or visit resorts or beauty spots however we have to remember, as has been said time and time again, that this is a health crisis not a holiday.

“We need to behave differently and we all need to work together to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. We have been working closely with An Garda Síochána throughout the period of the restrictions and we will continue to do so in relation to an appropriate policing response and to coordinate our operational activity over both bank holiday weekends.

“We have a joint interest for people to stay at home and protect both our health services and save lives both sides of the border.

“We will continue to conduct patrols and vehicle checkpoints and you will continue to see police patrols and checkpoints across Northern Ireland for example at beauty spots, on roads going to key resorts and in border areas to engage with the public to ensure that everyone understands and is adhering to the direction from our government.

“If you don’t have a reasonable explanation for your travel, we will turn you back.

“We will continue to engage with people and explain what we need them to do and encourage them to follow the restrictions that are in place but for the small numbers of people who are continuing to ignore the restrictions, it is inevitable that we will have to move to enforcement through the issue of penalty notices but I would stress this is always a last resort.”

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