Covid tickets worth £140,000 brought fines of £780 in Northamptonshire

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Just two out of 14 prosecutions successful under laws touted as "deterrent to those who think they are above the law"

Up to £140,000-worth of Covid fines issued by Northamptonshire Police resulted in just £780 being paid by two offenders.

Three more cases against people issued with £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notices in the county for breaching lockdown regulations were halted earlier this month.

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The Force initially claimed to have issued 14 tickets for illegal mass gatherings following the introduction of legislation by home secretary Priti Patel last August with Supt Natalee Wignall saying the fines sent out a "very strong message to anyone thinking of holding such events."

Police saw just two successful prosecutions following home secretary Priti Patel's announcement of £10,000 fines last AugustPolice saw just two successful prosecutions following home secretary Priti Patel's announcement of £10,000 fines last August
Police saw just two successful prosecutions following home secretary Priti Patel's announcement of £10,000 fines last August

Only six of those were processed, however, according to data issued by the National Police Chiefs' Council — and just two resulted in successful prosecutions with magistrates issuing fines of £660 and £120.

Northamptonshire Police confirmed no more prosecutions are still in the pipeline after the latest collapse of a case against a DJ performing at a Northampton house party on December 5.

Bart Babbington, 27, was due in court earlier this month but a Force spokesman said: “We can confirm that court proceedings brought against a 27-year-old Northampton man in relation to an alleged breach of Covid legislation last December have been discontinued.

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“Two other remaining cases have also been halted by the Force so there are currently no cases of this type awaiting legal proceedings in Northamptonshire.”

Kehinde Olagesin was fined £120 after admitting "holding or being involved in the holding of a relevant gathering taking place in a private dwelling" at a hearing in June.

The organiser of another house party in Forfar Street, Northampton, Kenechi J'Ogbonna, was fined £660 for the same offence.

One case against the alleged organiser of an event at Northampton's Campanile Hotel was withdrawn after Police admitted there no reasonable prospect of conviction.

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Laws regarding £10,000 fixed penalties aimed at curbing gatherings over the August bank holiday were also supposed to be a deterrent against house parties with more than 30 people under Tier Two rules which were in force before Christmas.

Those organising illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gathering of more than 30 people could face a £10,000 fine.

Announcing the measures, home secretary Priti Patel said: "These gatherings are dangerous and those who organise them show a blatant disregard for the safety of others.

"We will continue to crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law."

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A Home Office spokesman said today (Wednesday): “Our police forces faced unprecedented challenges carrying out the critical role of maintaining public order during the pandemic.

“The Government introduced measures to reduce transmission of the virus that have been proportionate and appropriate.

"The overwhelming majority of the public have played their part to control the virus but it is right that strong deterrents were in place for those breaching the rules most egregiously."