COPS have slammed York drinkers who “believe a pint is more important than someone’s life” as Tier 3 revellers continue to travel to the Tier 2 area.
North Yorkshire Police handed out a “shocking” 160 fixed penalty notice to lockdown flouters who ignored tier restrictions to head to pubs in York.
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While York remains in Tier 2, surrounding areas including West and South Yorkshire are under tougher Tier 3 restrictions.
And after Tier 3 punters flocked to the city over the weekend, York police made “proactive visits” to licensed premises, slapping fines on those who refused to act on the officers’ advice.
Superintendent Mike Walker said: “Looking at the numbers of fines handed out this weekend, which are still awaiting processing, we believe that we have handed out over 160 tickets, with the vast majority being issued to Tier 3 residents who visited York to mix and socialise indoors, which is in clear breach of their restrictions.
“Throughout the pandemic, we have been very clear about our approach, and the action taken this weekend is evidence of it.
“Where we encounter people who refuse to adhere to the regulations and believe their pint is more important than someone’s life, we will use our enforcement powers.
“Our teams encountered large numbers of people who were not responsive to the advice, leaving us no option but to enforce through the use of fixed penalty notices.”
Mr Walker warned Brits from Tier 3 areas that officers could ask travellers to explain the reason for their visit if they enter the city.
Mr Walker added: “It is our responsibility to ask those questions, to determine the truth and take the necessary action, in order to stop the spread and ultimately save lives.”
Denise Craghill, executive member for safer communities at City of York Council, added: “No-one in the city wants to put loved ones at risk for the sake of a night out and undo the city’s hard work and sacrifice.”
The news comes as Britain saw a grim doubling of Covid cases this week and the government slapped new Tier 4 restrictions on London and south east England in an attempt to curb the spread of the latest virus strain.
But despite the severe Covid situation, other areas including East Grinstead in West Sussex has also seen similar regulation “flouting”.
The quiet commuter town sits on the border of West Sussex – the vast majority of which is in Tier 2 where shops, pubs and restaurants can stay open.
But the leafy town is also sandwiched between Tier 4 Surrey and Kent – which have the toughest Covid rules, barring the opening of non-essential shops with Tier 4 residents being warned not to travel to prevent the spread of the mutant strain.
Plenty in East Grinstead have been ignoring government advice and skipping over the border into Tier 2 areas.
Liz Ross, who lives a mile away from the Sussex town of East Grinstead in Felbridge, Surrey, admitted to the Daily Mail that she broke the new covid rules, but said it was for an essential journey.
The 69-year-old told the paper: “I had to come into the opticians today because I had my glasses adjusted and so need to pick them up here.
“I know we are not supposed to cross into different tiers and I don’t intend to do so again but on this occasion it’s an essential journey.”
In East Grinstead life has continued under Tier 2 restrictions – but residents are furious that people from Tier 4 areas are travelling into Tier 2 Sussex so freely.
Tree surgeon Alex Jones, 30, from Brighton said he knew a lot of people who were regularly travelling into East Grinstead from Surrey and Kent as well as Sussex locals travelling into London.
He told The Mail: “I think the whole system is ludicrous and makes not an ounce of sense.
“I know plenty of people who live in Surrey who have come into East Grinstead because the shops and pubs are open.
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“This is their local town centre and they’ve been coming in for years and years.”
The tier system is set to be reviewed across the country on Wednesday, December 30 – but officials have warned Tier 4 restrictions are likely to be imposed on more parts of the country.
Boris Johnson says he wants to avoid a third national lockdown in January 2021, but with the rapid rise in cases following the new Covid strain fears are mounting that another shutdown will be introduced.