Football team fined for pub visit 'insisted they were all in same household'

Jimmy Nsubuga
·2-min read
The team were drinking in the Wouldhave pub in South Shields, South Tyneside (Picture: Google)
The team were drinking in the Wouldhave pub in South Shields, South Tyneside (Picture: Google)

A 12-strong football team unsuccessfully tried to avoid a fine when out drinking in a Wetherspoons by claiming they were from the same household.

The friends were at the Wouldhave pub in South Shields, South Tyneside, on Sunday night when a staff member saw they were wearing football kit under their jackets and challenged them.

Northumbria Police said the employee reported a breach of the coronavirus regulations, and officers arrived at the pub and issued the group with fines.

The group were fined £200 each, which will be halved if it is paid within two weeks.

People in South Tyneside are currently banned from meeting other households indoors as the area is under tier two restrictions.

Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work?

Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said the players sat at four tables and ordered food and drinks using the pub chain’s app.

Staff check that customers have signed in for track and trace purposes, he said, and whether they are from the same household when they bring food and drink orders to the table.

He said: “When the drinks were brought to the tables a member of staff noticed that members of the group all had the same football shirt on (having taken off their jackets) and asked if they were from the same household.

“They said they were, but the member of staff didn’t believe them and told them that the police would be called and if the police came they would be fined.

“The members of the group chose to stay. The police then came and dealt with the matter.”

But player Josh Robertson, one of the those who was fined, denied that version of events.

He added: “They didn’t ask if we lived in the same house. Why would 12 lads say we lived in the same house?

“They never warned us or anything. They took our money for drinks and that.”

Watch: People in England face £10,000 fines for not self-isolating

Chief Superintendent Janice Hutton, of Northumbria Police, said: “This group showed a flagrant disregard for the rules which are in place to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“Actions like this undermine the efforts being made by the majority of others in order to protect themselves, their family, friends and wider communities.”

The force declined to name the football team.

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