The man from Tetbury was issued with a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of £30 after he was found riding a quad bike in the woods at Whiteshill near Stroud back in April. At this point the country was in full lockdown and regulations required people to stay at home and take just one session of daily exercise.
On April 26, PCSO Gary Lynch came across the man and explained to him that ‘driving a van to Whiteshill to ‘exercise’ your quad bike in woodland is not essential travel’.
Sergeant Garrett Gloyn described what happened in a Neighbourhood Alert.
He said: “The man had brought his quad to the location in a transit type van, from another district, and tried to convince Gary that riding the quad was his daily exercise.
“Gary explained his point of view but the rider was having none of it.
“Despite the government having announced 843 deaths relating to Covid 19 the day before the man told PCSO Lynch that the virus was made up and, ‘all those hospitals are all empty’.
“As he became even more abusive Gary was left with no option but to issue one of the new coronavirus regulations fines. At that time the fine was for £30.”
The defendant failed to pay the original fine and was summoned to Cheltenham Magistrates Court on October 17.
He has pleaded guilty to not paying a fixed penalty notice and must now pay a total of £352, including costs and a victim surcharge.
Sergeant Gloyn added: “Firstly I’d like to note Gloucestershire Constabulary, as a whole, has issued more Covid fines than some but fewer than many other constabularies.
“Where a breach of the regulations is clear and the person breaching them is taking the biscuit we will intervene and utilise the new regulations.
“Secondly, I want to congratulate PCSO Gary Lynch for his diligence and courage in tackling this man. We are so very lucky to have Gary on the neighbourhood team in the district.”