Woman fined in first railway breach of coronavirus laws

A woman has been fined more than £800 at court after being found guilty of breaching the new coronavirus restrictions in the first arrest of its kind on the railway network.

Apr 1, 2020
By Tony Thompson

British Transport Police (BTP) officers received a report on Saturday morning (March 28) of a woman, later identified as Marie Dinou, loitering between platforms at Newcastle Central station.

Officers approached Dinou and attempted to engage with her to understand her reasons for essential travel. However, she refused to speak to the officers and having explored all options, Dinou, 41, was arrested on suspicion of travel fraud and breaching the restrictions imposed under the new Coronavirus Act 2020.

She appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday (March 30) and received a £660 fine for failing to comply with requirements imposed under the Act, together with an £85 fine for ticket fraud and £80 in costs.

BTP Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “While a ticket offence had also been committed in this case, enforcement of any sort under the new regulations really is a last resort, especially arrest.

“In this case, officers tried their upmost best to engage with Dinou. I can assure you we would much rather not have to take such action. We strongly urge the public to do the right thing and help us save lives by staying at home and slowing the spread of the virus.”

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