This is how many fines have been given out by North East police to people breaking lockdown rules

Dozens of people have been given police fines for breaching the rules of the coronavirus lockdown – from garden party hosts to digging for worms.

Police throughout the country have been given extra powers to give out penalties to people who fail to stick to the guidelines issued by the Government in an effort to prevent the speed of the COVID-19 illness.

The virus has already claimed more than 12,300 lives across the country.

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Northumbria Police and Durham Constabulary have revealed how may fines they have issued during the lockdown.

As of yesterday, Tuesday, April 15, Northumbria Police said it has issued 32 fines, while Durham Constabulary has said it has given out 14.

Meanwhile, Cleveland has given out 91 since the legislation was introduced on March 26, three days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the restrictions.

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Both Northumbria and Durham have said they will always use enforcement as a last resort once all reasonable requests and options have been tried first, with officers hoping people will comply with requests to help keep people safe.

Meanwhile, Durham has confirmed among the incidents it dealt with was two men, aged 32 and 25, who do not live together and travelled to Peterlee from London and a 24-year-old woman who had not complied with repeat warnings and instructions not to have gatherings in the garden of her home in Seaham.

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Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton, of Northumbria Police, said: “It is really important to recognise that the overwhelming majority of people in our area continue to adhere to the stay-at-home restrictions.

“We are extremely grateful to all those who are ultimately playing their part in saving lives.

“The efforts being made are a testament to the fantastic community spirit we have here – with people determined to do all they can to protect their family, friends, neighbours and wider community.

“We would like to reassure members of the public who have contacted us to raise concerns about the restrictions not being followed, that these details are helping to inform our response and identify areas which may need attention.

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“We would ask everyone to please carry on showing the fantastic resolve we have seen to #StayHomeSaveLives – together we can make a difference.”

A spokesperson for Durham Constabulary added the force's thanks to those who had followed the guidance and added: “Unfortunately, there have been occasions where a few people have refused to take police and Government advice and it has been necessary to issue fixed penalty notices.

“That outcome, however, is not our first choice.

“Where possible we will always seek to engage with people, explain how they are acting against the legislation and encourage them to return home.

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“For the majority of people that will be enough.

“Our message is clear – please stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives.”

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