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‘Now it’s illegal to SWEAT!’: Jogger claims he was given £120 fixed penalty fine by ‘Covid marshal’

A runner has been fined £120 by a ‘Covid Officer’ for sweating during his jog.

Mark Meghezzi, 30, said he had been targeted by one of the London Borough of Hounslow workers on Tuesday.

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The university management graduate, originally from Aberdeen, said he had been resting in Chiswick after a vigorous dash when he was spotted.

Mr Meghezzi had been sweating heavily and blew from his mouth to get the perspiration off his face.

But he said an officer said he thought he had been spitting and issued him with a fine. 

Council leaders said the person who fined him had been an Enforcement Officer who had acted under anti-littering regulations.

The alleged wrongdoing – which is denied by Mr Meghezzi – falls under Environmental Protection Act regulations, something now considered more important during Coronavirus times.

Mr Meghezzi wrote online: ‘Is this really what it has come to? 

‘Sadiq Khan I can’t imagine this is how you intended these resources to be deployed. 

Runner Mark Meghezzi was still sweating when he posted the picture of the fine online

‘I received a fine from Sadiq Khan’s London Borough of Hounslow for doing nothing more than going for a run down Chiswick High Road.

‘I paused at Turnham Green Terrace and went down on my haunches (it was a tough one) and waited for the traffic lights to turn green.

‘As I did so, naturally the sweat poured off me and I blew some away from my lip, towards the road. This is natural and unavoidable when running.

‘I was then accosted by a very excited young ‘Covid Officer’ who advised me that I had been ‘observed spitting’ and who then very eagerly issued me with the £120 FPN in the picture. 

‘I stood back (mostly in shock) after receiving the FPN from this ‘officer’.

‘I observed him repeat his truck twice more with passing joggers and cyclists, stopped at the lights.

‘Needless to say this FPN will not be being paid and a complaint has been raised against the individual for their conduct in issuing it.’

City inspectors in Westminster have been looking for coronavirus rules breaches

City inspectors in Westminster have been looking for coronavirus rules breaches

Marshal law: What powers do Covid officers have?

Covid marshals were announced by Boris Johnson for towns and city centres in England.

They are either volunteers or existing members of council staff.

Leeds and Cornwall are known to have them too and they offer advice about the rules and how to obey them.

In London environment and enforcement officers as well as city inspectors sometimes carry out similar roles.

They have powers to issue on the spot fines and penalty notices to alleged rulebreakers.

Volunteer Covid marshals do not have the same powers 

Cllr Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council, told MailOnline the person issuing the fine was an Enforcement Officer.

‘The Fixed Penalty Notice was not given for any Covid offence or sweating, and nor was it issued by a Covid marshal. The notice was issued by an Enforcement Officer for spitting, which is a littering offence.

‘Officers tackle a wide range of offences to tackle environmental and anti-social behaviour to support the local community. All of our officers are provided with body-worn cameras that capture interactions between staff and members of the public. Details of why a Fixed Penalty Notice was issued is provided on the notice along with details of a representative process that allows for notices to be reviewed.’

Spreading coronavirus via spit is thought to be possible because it could contain matter from the nose or lungs.

Running websites advise joggers try to be careful not to do it when they are out exercising.

But sweat is safe, as consultant virologist Chris Smith told LBC in March.

He said: ‘The site in which the virus grows is the respiratory tract so that means the nose and throat to a lower extent and the lungs to a greater extent. That’s why coughs and sneezes in this context spreads diseases.

‘As sweat is made in sweat glands and sweat glands make the sweat by filtering the liquid bit, the watery bit, away from blood, they’re not in direct contact with the source of the virus – because this virus does not to an appreciable level go round in the blood stream.’

‘Therefore there should be only limited amounts of the virus in sweat for that is not a means of transmission.’

Thousands of Britons are being fined for breaking ‘unclear and ambiguous’ Covid lockdown rules, MPs warn 

Thousands of Britons are being fined for breaking ‘unclear and ambiguous,’ Covid-19 lockdown rules, a committee of MPs has warned. 

The Joint Committee on Human Rights said it was ‘unacceptable’ that ‘many thousands’ were receiving fixed penalty notices (FPNs) despite evidence the police did not fully understand their powers and with no means of redress.

It said the way the regulations were being enforced by the police was having a ‘disproportionate impact’ on young men from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Police are able to issue fines to anyone flouting social distancing rules. Officers are patrolling busy spots like Richmond Park to ensure people adhere to the restrictions

Police are able to issue fines to anyone flouting social distancing rules. Officers are patrolling busy spots like Richmond Park to ensure people adhere to the restrictions

Although FPNs could result in fines in excess of £10,000 there is currently no realistic way for people to challenge the

‘This will invariably lead to injustice as members of the public who have been unfairly targeted with an FPN have no means of redress and police will know that their actions are unlikely to be scrutinised,’ the committee said.

It warned many of the regulations were ‘confusingly named’ making it difficult for people to establish what they were and were not entitled to do.

MPs have heard new fines are 'unclear,' and may unfairly target people, particularly young men, from BAME backgrounds

MPs have heard new fines are ‘unclear,’ and may unfairly target people, particularly young men, from BAME backgrounds

With the regulations changing on average once a week, it called for greater clarity from the Government as to what was prohibited by the criminal law.

‘More care must be taken by the Government to distinguish between advice, guidance and the law, in media announcements as well as in official online sources,’ the committee said.

Lockdown fines across Britain

The highest fine for flouting social distancing rules is £10,000, which can be issued to any organiser of an illegal gathering.

Fixed penalty notices vary in cost across Britain, the Met Police sets them out as follows:  

England (over 18s):

£100 for the first offence, lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days.

£200 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £3,200.

Wales (over 18s):

£60 for the first offence, which may be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.

£120 for the second offence and for each further offence.

Scotland (over 16s):

£60 for the first offence, lowered to £30 if paid within 28 days.

£120 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £960.

Northern Ireland (over 18s): 

£60 for the first offence, lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.

£120 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £960. 

‘In particular, more must be done to make the up to date regulations themselves (not only guidance) clearly accessible online, particularly as the law has changed, on average, once a week.

‘It ought to be straightforward for a member of the public to find out what the current criminal law is, nationally and in their local area, without having to trawl through multiple sets of confusingly named regulations.’

Committee chairwoman Harriet Harman said: ‘Confusion over what is law and what is merely guidance has left citizens open to disproportionate and unequal levels of punishment for breaking the rules, and unfortunately, it seems that once again, this is overtly affecting BAME individuals.

‘The Government must learn from these mistakes to ensure that any additional lockdowns do not unfairly impact specific groups.’

The committee also expressed concern about the extent of the use of Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR) notices in care homes during the pandemic, warning that their blanket use would be unlawful.

It urged the Department of Health to take a ‘more proportionate approach’ when it came to issuing guidance on visiting care homes, and called on ministers to ensure homes were not imposing blanket bans on visitors.

‘Restrictions on visiting rights must only be implemented on the basis of an individualised risk assessment and such risk assessment must take into account the risks to the person’s emotional wellbeing and mental health of not having visits,’ it said.

The committee said ministers should organise ‘a quick, interim review’ into deaths from coronavirus to ensure key lessons were learned in advance of any second peak in the autumn and winter.

A Government spokesperson said they had worked closely with the police throughout the pandemic, and officers had enforced regulations only as a last resort.

They added: ‘Both Houses (of Parliament) have opportunities to scrutinise and debate all regulations, which must be approved by both Houses within 28 days to remain in force. This is the same way all lockdown regulations have been made and none have been voted down.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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