Police in Shropshire have denied claims that they're fining people £200 for throwing snowballs, having had to apologise for the 'confusion' of a now-deleted tweet.
Earlier today, officers from West Mercia Police issued a Twitter warning to others following reports of 'snowballs being thrown' last night, which they said could result in a hefty fine due to lockdown restrictions.
Neighbourhood police officers for the Broseley and Much Wenlock areas said: "There have been two reports of snowballs being thrown last night between 11 and 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."
Many people commented on the post to say being 'fined for playing in the snow' was 'beyond a joke' and 'outrageous'.
However, West Mercia Police has since deleted the tweet and clarified that there had been a misunderstanding.
"Well... That definitely snowballed out of hand," the neighbourhood police officers wrote later this afternoon.
"It has been brought to our attention that our earlier Tweet that seemed to imply that throwing snowballs would land you with an FPN.
"Obviously, this isn't the case. We were trying highlight that leaving your home to carry out acts of antisocial behaviour could be considered a breach of the Covid-19 regulations. On reflection we really didn't word this very well... Sorry!
"We've deleted the Tweet to avoid any confusion and our Superintendent, Mo Lansdale, has issued a statement to provide a little more context into this incident."
Obviously, this isn't the case.- Broseley&Wenlock SNT (@WenlockCops) January 8, 2021
We were trying highlight that leaving your home to carry out acts of antisocial behaviour could be considered a breach of the Covid-19 regulations. On reflection we really didn't word this very well... Sorry!
Lansdale, Superintendent for the Shropshire area, said in his statement: "This morning one of our local teams tweeted about a number of incidents where snowballs were being thrown at the homes of elderly and vulnerable residents at gone 11pm.
"We fully appreciate that from their initial tweet it is difficult to get the full picture, and context can be tricky to gain in just 280 characters. They followed up with a tweet with more detail a few hours later and we've deleted the original post, to avoid any confusion.
"In relation to last night's incidents we are speaking to a number of people to identify who the three individuals involved were. At this time, no one has been spoken to or issued with an FPN.
"The pandemic is stressful enough for people, particularly those that are more vulnerable, without them being made to feel worse and isolated in their own homes as a result of disgraceful anti-social behaviour.
"We will not tolerate the targeting of vulnerable people and there are a number of powers available to us to protect people. One such power could be the FPN under the Covid-19 regulations as, I think we can all agree, frightening vulnerable people is not a reasonable excuse to have left your home."
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