Police cancel £60 fine for couple who travelled seven miles to visit elderly mother at care home

Ellen Manning
·2-min read
David and Carol Richards were handed a fine on their way back from visiting her mother at a care home. (Google Maps)
David and Carol Richards were handed a fine on their way back from visiting her mother at a care home. (Google Maps)

Police have cancelled a £60 fine handed to a couple for driving 20 minutes to visit a 94-year-old relative at a care home.

South Wales Police said after reviewing the matter it had rescinded the fine handed to Carol and David Richards.

The couple, from Bridgend, had travelled seven miles to Porthcawl to visit Carol Richards’ mother Decima Minhinnick and speak to her through a window.

The incident comes amid controversy over fines handed out by police to people for breaching lockdown restrictions – including two women who were fined for meeting each other for a walk and later saw their fines rescinded.

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The Bridgend couple said they had been given permission for the visit, arranged in advance, by care home staff and had spoken to Minhinnick through the window of her ground-floor room.

But they were stopped by police on their way home and handed the fine in what they said was like something from a “dystopian novel”.

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South Wales Police previously defended the move, saying the couple had broken lockdown rules, but has now cancelled the fine.

In a statement, the force said: “Police in Porthcawl issued a fixed penalty notice to a man who had travelled from his home in Penyfai to visit a relative on Sunday, January 10th.

“The circumstances of the journey and the issuing of the fine have since been reviewed and the notice has been rescinded. The individual concerned has been notified.”

The statement added: “Wales remains at Alert Level 4 and South Wales Police will continue to patrol our communities to ensure the legislation, which has been enacted to help slow the spread of coronavirus, is complied with.”

On Tuesday, a senior police chief said almost 45,000 fines have been issued to people across the UK for breaching COVID laws.

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National Police Chiefs’ Council chairman (NPCC) Martin Hewitt said officers will not “waste time” trying to reason with people who have “no regard” for the safety of others.

He outlined a series of recent examples of “irresponsible behaviour” that had been penalised – including a boat party in Hertfordshire with more than 40 people, and a minibus full of people from different households travelling from Cheltenham into Wales for a walk.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown