By Connor Steel
THE message from Boris Johnson on January 4 was: “You must stay home,” as the Prime Minister announced a third national lockdown to halt coronavirus infections at the height of winter.
Eight months later a Gosport woman has reportedly been given a heavy fine for failing to abide by the strict rules after being caught visiting her boyfriend in a Southsea hotel during the lockdown – according to a crime report round-up featured in The News (available here) that has been widely shared across social media including by Gosport-based police.
As reported in the article, Becky Ward, 24, of Trinity Green, Gosport, caught the local ferry to see her partner at an unnamed hotel in Landport Terrace, Southsea, on February 26. It is believed that hotel staff told the man, who had been allocated the room by Portsmouth City Council, to get his girlfriend to leave.
However the unnamed man refused this request, with staff calling police and two officers arriving at 9am the next day, February 27. When the police couldn’t get a response from the couple. the management were forced to open the room door and found Ward together with her partner.
They were quickly spoken to by a police constable, who said in a statement: “On speaking to both [him] and Ward they were fully aware of the rules and Ward even stated it was a moment of madness her getting the ferry down last night to see [him].
“Police fully explained to Ward that this was breaching Covid restrictions as it was not classed as essential travel, Ward was reported for breaching Covid and cautioned.”
She replied: “Yeah I understand,” was escorted out of the hotel and told not to return.
Ward was found guilty in her absence of participating in a gathering of two or more people, being fined a total of £1,700 under the Coronavirus Act of March 2020, which looks set to be extended again later this week.
She must further pay an extra £176 surcharge and £85 costs. It is not known whether the man involved in this case is likely to receive punishment for his part in this offence; therefore readers are asked not to speculate until this is confirmed by court staff or legal teams.