A police force has come under fire after threatening people with fines for breaching coronavirus lockdown laws if they’re caught playing in the snow.
Officers from West Mercia Police issued the warning after they received reports of people throwing snowballs on Thursday night.
The Broseley and Wenlock Safer Neighbourhood Team, in Shropshire, tweeted that snowball fights would likely be in violation of the government’s tough lockdown rules, which were introduced earlier this week.
They wrote: “This is obviously not a justifiable reason to be out of your house, this behaviour is likely to result in a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking the lockdown rules.”
There have been 2 reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 & 11:30pm. This is obviously not a justifiable reason to be out of your house, this behaviour is likely to result in a £200 Fixed Penalty Notice for breaking the lockdown rules. pic.twitter.com/3ElnMKhhAM
— Broseley&Wenlock SNT (@WenlockCops) January 8, 2021
The officers earlier said four fines had been issued to people in their area for flouting COVID rules.
They added: “Four Fixed Penalty Notices were issued last night in Broseley for blatant breaches of the Coronavirus lockdown.
“These measures are in place to protect us all and to stop the NHS from being overwhelmed.”
The Broseley and Wenlock Safer Neighbourhood Team later tweeted that the snowballs were being thrown at the addresses of vulnerable elderly residents, adding: ”This behaviour is not acceptable at any time.”
They did not explain how such anti-social behaviour fell within the remit of coronavirus legislation.
The threat of such fines prompted anger from some social media users.
Watch: UK police arrest anti-lockdown protestors
Joanne Eley wrote: “So you're telling me I could be fined for playing in the snow - outdoors with people from my same household? That is beyond a joke.”
Andrea Waring said: “Antisocial behaviour like throwing snowballs at houses, yes. But if people are just out playing in the snow then I don't understand this”, while Davina Taylor added: “If you'd said 12 months ago police would be fining people for playing in the snow, you would have been laughed out of town."
Bev Henley added: “The country has gone mad”, while Stephanie Bolton added: "Stop the world I want to get off.”
And Megan Dorgan said: "If gangs of people are chucking snowballs then I understand but please use common sense West Mercia Police."
The move comes after two women claimed they were surrounded by police, read their rights and handed a £200 fine each after meeting up for a walk in Derbyshire five miles from home.
Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown