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Man Given £2,000 Fine For Taking His Mask Off For ‘About 16 Seconds’

Man Given £2,000 Fine For Taking His Mask Off For ‘About 16 Seconds’

The shopper said he briefly removed his mask as he felt unwell

A man has claimed he was hit with a £2,000 fine after taking his face mask off in a shop for ‘about 16 seconds’. 

Christopher O'Toole was wearing a mask while out shopping in B&M in Prescot, Merseyside in February last year but said he briefly removed it as he was leaving after he began to feel unwell. 

He says he was approached by police officers who took his name for not wearing a mask - lockdown rules in place at the time required shoppers to wear masks unless they had a medical exemption. 

O’Toole says he only very briefly took his mask off as he wasn’t feeling well and that he has no problem with wearing masks while out in public. 

Liverpool Echo

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he said: "I was worrying when the police pulled me and I was just asking can I go?

"They said I could go after taking my name and I thought that was that and didn't think about it."

He then received a letter in the post from ACRO Criminal Records Office ordering him to pay a £100 fine. 

But the 30-year-old refused to pay up as he said he only took his mask off for a few seconds. 

He said: "I emailed them saying I wasn't going to pay a fine for taking my mask off for something like 16 seconds - not a chance.

"I didn't hear anything back from anyone for months until I got a letter at the start of December saying I owed £2,000."

He added: "It was four weeks before Christmas and they wanted the whole amount.


"They could have taken my full wages and I still wouldn't have been able to have it cleared. I emailed them back and found out it had gone to court without me knowing.

"I had to sign a statutory declaration to show I hadn't known about it."

O’Toole has vowed to fight the charge and is heading to court next month to dispute the fine. 

"I am worried - but I want to get the chance to be able to fight my case,” he said. 

ACRO, which is administering fixed penalty notices to help out the police during the pandemic, told the news outlet it does not comment on individual cases. 

Featured Image Credit: Liverpool Echo

Topics: UK News, Coronavirus