Police Fine Merseyside Gym £1,000 After It Refused To Close Amid Tier 3 Lockdown
Nick Whitcombe, owner of Body Tech Fitness in Moreton, Wirral, previously said that he couldn't afford to shut the gym in line with the new localised lockdown restrictions, claiming that if he closed his doors there would be 'no business, there will be no gym, there will be no jobs'.
When officers arrived yesterday (Wednesday 14 October) and ordered him to shut Nick refused, and he was subsequently hit with the fine.
In a video posted on Instagram - which has been viewed 1.3 million times - Nick said: "We have just received our first £1,000 fine at Body Tech.
"After meeting with the police yesterday, they told us we would get a warning first day, then a second warning, £100 fine, £200 fine and so on.
"They were with us this morning, gave us our warning. Then came back this afternoon, orders from their top boss to issue a fine straight away. So, they've told us 'close immediately' or I'll take a £1,000 fine."
He continued: "Obviously we still had quite a lot of members training and I said to the officers, 'I'm not asking anyone to leave. Even if I am I'm going to let them finish their sessions first.'
"So they've issued the fine. First one's £1,000. They can come back in three hours and issue £2,000. Three hours after that, £4,000.
"It's disappointing. They sent out seven or eight firearms officers, what a waste of resources."
A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: "We can confirm a gym in Moreton has been fined and ordered to close after opening despite the introduction of legislation prohibiting gyms from opening in the Liverpool City Region.
"Officers were called to Body Tech Fitness on Pasture Road, Moreton at around 8.35am today [Wednesday] by a member of the public who was concerned that the gym had opened in contravention of the new coronavirus legislation.
More Like ThisMore Like This
"Officers visited the premises and warned the owner to close.
"Upon returning later today, the gym remained open and a fixed penalty notice was issued ordering the owner to pay a £1,000 fine, and he was ordered to close immediately."
Merseyside Police also confirmed to LADbible that while officers were carrying tasers, they were not carrying firearms.
Earlier this week, leisure industry body UKactive slammed the closure of gyms in Tier 3 lockdown, saying in a statement: "The Government simply cannot afford to close gyms and leisure centres again. To do so would threaten permanent business failure and substantial job losses.
"Furthermore, closures could damage the health of the nation and weaken the public health recovery from Covid-19.
"In this health crisis, our national and local leadership needs these essential facilities more than ever."
Meanwhile, a petition for gyms not to close has gathered more than 132,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Merseyside Police Chief Superintendent Claire Richards added: "We understand that people are frustrated with the current situation and for a number of local businesses, including the fitness and leisure industry, this will be particularly hard.
"It's not that long ago that gyms reopened their doors after lockdown and they did so after making huge changes to the way they work for the safety and protection of their customers.
"But while this lockdown does present huge challenges, the focus of us all should now be on preventing the spread of the virus and getting us back to normality as safely and as quickly as possible.
"The new restrictions have been brought in to try to achieve that, and if we don't act decisively and collaboratively, the impact could be harder and last even longer.
"We will therefore continue to encourage members of the public and businesses to adhere to the guidance, explain why they should and - as in this case - use enforcement where there are clear breaches of legislation."
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Nick Whitcombe
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read