Published: 12:21, 13 January 2021
| Updated: 14:50, 13 January 2021
Police issued 30 fines for lockdown breaches in Kent at the weekend, which included people hugging and kissing each other after a house party had been broken up by officers.
Other rule-breakers were penalised for attempting to cross the Channel, failing to socially distance and making unnecessary trips into the county.
On Saturday, a car was stopped by police in Brookfield Road, Ashford. The driver said she and her partner had driven from Essex to pick up a remote-controlled car she had bought online. They were fined £200.
The same day police broke up a house party in Military Road, Ramsgate, after hearing loud music and raised voices. When the party-goers were dispersed, they hugged and kissed each other. Two people were fined £200 each.
Also on Saturday, a man was stopped by officers in Cliftonville who said he had travelled from Lancashire to Kent to visit a friend. He was fined and told to return home immediately. Police later found him in Clarendon Road after visiting his friend and he was fined again.
Three people were fined after being stopped in Lower High Street, Ashford. They had already been warned about congregating in a large group and said they had understood the warning.
However, within hours they were found again and fined £200 each.
Assistant Chief Constable Claire Nix said: "The vast majority of Kent residents continue to do the right thing and are following the rules, helping to protect the NHS and ultimately save lives.
"Unfortunately, there are still some people who think it is acceptable to throw parties, gather outside in large numbers or commit other serious breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
"Holidays within the UK and abroad are also prohibited unless for permitted reasons and, despite this advice, seven people attempted to cross the Channel at the weekend without valid reasons and were fined as a result.
"The government has been very clear that the best way to protect everyone is to stay at home as part of this third national lockdown and no one should be attempting holidays or breaching other rules, not just for their own protection but to prevent the spread of the virus.
"I am urging all Kent residents to visit the government website and know what is acceptable at this time.
"People doing this are not only putting their own lives at risk but that of anyone they meet, some of whom will be extremely vulnerable."
"Anyone who is permitted to travel abroad should also obtain a negative Covid-19 test prior to departure. Anyone who turns up at the ports without one will also be turned away.
"It is also unacceptable that officers around the county are still finding some individuals organising or attending house parties with no regard for the seriousness of this pandemic.
"In these situations we will have no choice but to take enforcement action.
"People doing this are not only putting their own lives at risk but that of anyone they meet, some of whom will be extremely vulnerable.
"Anyone who flagrantly or repeatedly breaks the rules at a time when there is so much pressure on Kent’s health services should be left in no doubt that action will be taken against them."
Saturday, January 9 – 19 fines issued
Sunday, January 10 – 11 fines issued