Restaurant owner would 'rather go to jail' than pay £70 fine

Restaurant owner would ‘rather go to jail’ than pay £70 fine he was handed while loading self-isolators’ food into his car during coronavirus lockdown

  • Tim Roberts owns Number 29 Bar and Restaurant in Burnham Market, Norfolk
  • Received a ticket while he was loading food into car on single yellow lines
  • Mr Roberts insisted he would go to court to fight the fine 
  • Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?

A restaurant owner said he would rather go to jail than pay a £70 fine he was given while loading food into his car for people self-isolating amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Tim Roberts, who owns Number 29 Bar and Restaurant in Burnham Market, Norfolk, is ‘absolutely furious’ after being given the ticket outside his venue by a traffic warden. 

He insisted he would go to court to fight the fine, which he was given while his car was parked on a single yellow line. 

He told the Eastern Daily Press: ‘I don’t care about the money, it’s the principle of it.

‘I won’t be paying it – I’ll go to court and if the court order me to pay it I’ll go to prison, I don’t care.’

Tim Roberts, owner of Number 29 Bar and Restaurant in Burnham Market, with the parking ticket he got for stopping outside his premises to load food for people self-isolating

Mr Roberts said he told the inspector that he was loading up to do deliveries for people self-isolating. 

But the traffic warden allegedly told him ‘that’s not my problem’ before giving him the ticket and walking away, Mr Roberts claimed. 

Mr Roberts’s fine comes after police were issued with powers to fine people who are caught outside their homes for non-essential reasons.  

People have been ordered to only leave their homes to buy food, take exercise or to travel to and from work if this is absolutely necessary. 

They are not supposed to meet friends or relatives they don’t live with and gatherings bigger than two people can be broken up. 

Tim Roberts pictured outside his premises where he was fined for trying  to load food for people self-isolating during the coronavirus lockdown. The council has upheld the fine

Police have already been accused of being heavy-handed with the new powers.

Derbyshire Police were met with a furious backlash after using drones to target members of the public who were walking in the Peak District. 

And in London, a police officer fined a bakery owner £80 for criminal damage after she put   chalk lines outside her shop to keep her customers safe from coronavirus.

An officer told the flabbergasted woman that she had graffitied the pavement and if police failed to punish crimes like these there would be ‘anarchy’, adding: ‘I can’t help the law. We’re also fining people for congregating – is that wrong too?’.

The extraordinary incident took place outside the Grodzinski bakery in Edgware, north-west London, this morning, when police spotted the owner using a can of non-permanant spray chalk to maintain social distancing of two metres outside the store. 

The woman, who gives her name as Gemma, confronts the officer and says: ‘This is not graffiti, it’s chalk, it washes off. 

‘So you would rather all my customers don’t stand two metres apart? I’m doing it for people’s safety – to stop the spread of coronavirus’, to which the officer replies: ‘It doesn’t matter. It’s criminal damage’.

The officer then tells her she needs to wash it off or she ‘will be committing another offence’.

She then says to protect her customers she will happily ‘get another ticket, and another ticket and another ticket. I don’t care’. 

A witness who filmed the incident then says: ‘People are dying and this is what you care about, this is ridiculous, this is horrendous’ and the officer replies: ‘The law doesn’t stop unfortunately. 

‘It’s still a criminal offence. The law is the law and it doesn’t change because of what is happening. There would be anarchy in the world’.

He adds that if the chalk was on her property it would not be an offence, but drawing on the pavement is against the law, saying: ‘It doesn’t matter if it is removable’.  

So far, more than 15,000 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK, with 759 losing their lives

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