A woman fined over £2,000 for holding a lockdown party in February last year has been left distraught after the money was taken from her account without warning.
She was originally told she'd recieve a £10,000 fine but after a court hearing, the charge was set to £2,026.
And now, Sunny-Jo Veasey is set to have £320 taken out of her account every month until the fine is paid off – a ‘crippling’ amount amid the cost of living crisis, she says.
The 28-year-old admits she was in the wrong, but believes she did not have a ‘rave type gathering of more than 30 persons indoors’, as per court documents.
Sunny-Jo said: "I was living in a shed and I had a few friends round because my mental state was getting ridiculous because of lockdown. I understand I broke some restrictions but not this crazy amount.
"Other people living in the house had their friends round as well and next thing I remember is it got crazily out of hand. People just started streaming through the doors."
Sunny-Jo has now moved to a new home and believes all correspondence about the court hearing went to her previous home, meaning she was unaware of the court hearing taking place.
In her absence, it was decided that 17 percent of her monthly income would be taken to pay off the fine of £2,026.
She said: "I didn't know anything since the night it happened so I presumed there was nothing coming from it.
"Then they took 17 percent of my income. I have been calling the courts crying and trying to say that I can't afford this.
"The cost of living is through the roof and you are taking this much out of my wage."
Sunny-Jo has now appealed the court’s decision and is awaiting a further hearing, scheduled for 10 March.
She recalls wanting to call the police at the time, but her friends and housemates had urged her not to in case she received a fine.
She added: "Looking back I wish I had. Police came and it says in the statement that I accepted some liability.
"I will plead not guilty to holding a rave type party on Thursday.
"If it's not changed, I will be paying this off for ages. It's going to change my finances, my life and my mental state for a very long time."
She has also compared her situation to that of Boris Johnson’s, who is still awaiting punishment following the Metropolitan Police investigation into Downing Street’s lockdown parties.
She said: "They had parties when they were telling everyone else not to and nothing's happened. It's disgusting.
"Hopefully something comes of it (the police investigation). If they can charge a person like me £2,000 then they should get the same, although it will probably just be pocket money for them."
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