Three east London men fined for breaking into shut-down park to drink beers

Harriet Brewis

Police have fined three men in east London for breaching lockdown restrictions to drink beer in the sunshine.

Hackney MPS tweeted about the incident on Sunday, when balmy temperatures lured thousands of people out of their homes.

Patrolling officers found the small group sitting at a small picnic bench in Victoria Park, which had been shut as part of a social distancing crackdown.

Following the encounter, the force wrote: “The park is currently closed to the public yet we’ve discovered three males had jumped the fence to have a sit down picnic on a bench drinking beers!

“All fined.”

Under current Government measures, Brits can only leave the house if they are key workers travelling to their jobs, shopping for health essentials, or to take exercise once a day.

New emergency powers granted to police mean they are able to serve on-the-spot fines of £30 to anyone ignoring stay at home orders.

Hackney’s officers proved in an earlier tweet that they were sticking by official instructions to the letter.

Writing from Well Street Common, they said: “Reading a book in the park is not an essential reason to be out.”

“Stay home save lives, protect the NHS and other key workers.”

Meanwhile volunteer officers from the Met's Special Constabulary added: "For avoidance of doubt - kite boarding, drone flying and picnicking are not essential activities..."

And in south London, Richmond Police issued a video plea to the public.

It tweeted an announcement made by one of its officers urging people to "go home" because there were too many people in the area to "implement social distancing."

Alongside the clip, the force wrote: "This message is being echoed across areas of #Richmond

"Keep yourself, family + NHS safe. Stay home unless essential

"We moved people on for sun bathing, meeting friends etc.

"Think of the people in hospital or the families of those who have lost their lives - #StayHomeSavelives."