Lockdown breachers face eye-watering instant fines as Northumbria Police warns of 'firm action where necessary'

A police chief has warned officers will take “firm action where necessary” with instant fines of up to £120 for those who don’t follow the coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Northumbria Police have said they will look to “engage and encourage” the public to follow government measures during the coronavirus outbreak, but will take action when necessary.

On Monday, March 23, Boris Johnson announced that police would been granted new powers to enforce the restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the illness.

Officers now have the power to issue a fine of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.

A fine of £120 will be issued to second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence.

Individuals who do not pay fines could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

Assistant Chief Constable for Northumbria Police, Helen McMillan said: “We have had large crowds of people at our coastal areas in recent days and that is not helpful and could be putting lives at risk.

“If people refuse to comply with our instruction then we will enforce this legislation.”

Northumbria Police confirmed they won’t be holding regular traffic stops – but if officers become aware of someone making a non-essential journey, they will ask them to return home.

Officers will also be checking areas which normally attract visitors to ensure people are following the restrictions.

Mrs McMillan added: “We pride ourselves on the fantastic relationships we have formed in our community and now more than ever we need you to work with us.”