Instow pub fined for breaching Covid regulations

The Wayfarer Inn at Instow.

The Wayfarer Inn at Instow. - Credit: NDC

An Instow pub has been fined £4,000 after being issued with four fixed penalty notices totalling £4,000 after breaching Covid-19 regulations. 

A statement issued by North Devon Council said following complaints from the public, police visited the Wayfarer Inn on the evening of ‘Factory Friday’ (December 18). 

They found breaches of the Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations at the premises and customers were asked to leave.  

The statement said the breaches were not having tables of different households adequately spaced, tables with people from several different households sitting at them and not checking that groups attending were from the same household. 

As a result of the police visits and the evidence gained on body cameras, North Devon Council has served two fixed penalty notices (FPNs) of £1,000 each on the licensee, as the person in control of the premises. 

A follow up visit by the police on the evening of Saturday, December 19 found further breaches of the same regulations, leading to two further FPNs of £1,000 each for the licensee. 

Under the Tier 2 rules, people can only get together indoors if they are part of the same household or support bubble. 

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Councillor David Worden, leader of the council, said: “We are grateful for the vigilance of our residents who report incidents of Covid breaches to us, which we are then able to follow up with the police.  

“With the Covid infection rate rising in North Devon, incidents such as this not only put individuals at risk but also put the premises at risk of enforcement action. 

"This joint action with our police colleagues proves how seriously we are taking breaches of this legislation. It is there to save lives and we will not hesitate to act on any reports of people breaking the law and putting our local community at risk. 

"The number of cases within the age groups 20 to 39 and 40 to 59 has grown recently and so this is not an infection that is limited to older people. With the tiers being reviewed again over the Christmas period, we don’t want to see harsher measures introduced for the new year." 

North and West Devon Superintendent Toby Davies added: "Officers have attended numerous licensed premises and businesses over the last few days.  

“It is pleasing to see that the vast majority are respecting the regulations and doing their utmost to comply with the tier legislation, so that staff and customers can enjoy themselves in a safe and Covid secure environment.  

“Sadly, however, a couple of premises visited were flagrantly disregarding the new measures with little social distancing and mixing of households. Where we witnessed blatant breaches, we have passed that evidence over to our two local authorities to consider formal action. 

"It is important to point out that nearly all licensed premises and businesses visited over the weekend were making every effort to comply with the guidance, despite the incredibly challenging situation we are all in. 

"Covid rates have been increasing significantly in our area over the last week, and we will continue to work with our local authorities to ensure we are doing everything possible to maintain the safety of our communities. Regretfully, for the minority who persist in acting irresponsibly and choose to ignore our efforts to engage, explain and educate - I am afraid we are left with no other option than to take formal action." 

If anyone wishes to report a breach of social distancing legislation, they can call North Devon Council on 01271 388870 or report it online at www.northdevon.gov.uk

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