• Sat. Feb 27th, 2021

Parents face fines after youths played lockdown football in Derbyshire


Feb 23, 2021

Police raised a leisure centre after youths broke in to play football, despite the current lockdown (Picture: PA)

A group of 20 youths were chased away by police after they were caught playing football at a locked leisure centre.

With amateur outdoor sports still banned across the country, Derbyshire Police raided the closed facility in Etwall to find a kickabout going on inside.

They are now working to track down some of the young people involved after the group made a ‘hasty getaway’.

Public football pitches have been closed while the country has been in lockdown but there are fears people are taking it upon themselves to play in parks and astroturf pitches.

Yesterday Boris Johnson confirmed outdoor sports would be one of the first things to be given the go-ahead as part of his roadmap out of lockdown, with a planned restart date of March 29.

But police have warned parents they will be fined if their children break lockdown rules ahead of this date.

Officers responded to reports of a large group of youngsters at the Etwall Leisure Centre on Monday at around 1.05pm.

The Etwall, Hatton and Hilton Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team (SNT) said they were ‘horrified’ to find the group had forcibly made their way onto the locked pitches.

Police have warned parents they will be fined if their children are caught breaking lockdown (Picture: PA)

They said the area had been left covered in litter as the group ran from police to avoid being caught.

The incident prompted police to issue a warning to parents, saying: ‘Do you know where your kids are? Do you know what they are getting up to?’

Police said they know the names of some of the youngsters involved and they will be ‘dealt with accordingly’.

In a Facebook statement issued after the incident, the SNT said: ‘It is of the upmost importance that you ensure your children are following the rules and regulations for Covid-19.

‘If a child breaches the rules then as their guardian, YOU will be held responsible for paying the fine.

Officers said they were ‘disgusted’ at the amount of litter left behind (Picture: PA)
It’s not the first time people have been caught playing football during lockdown (Picture: PA)

‘This may seem harsh but we need to ensure these rules are being followed so that one day in the not too distant future, we can be lift the restrictions and start getting back to a state of normality.’

The statement continued: ‘A gathering of 20 is simply not acceptable and quite frankly irresponsible in the times we are all living through.

‘Officers were also disgusted by the onslaught of rubbish that was just discarded about the place.’

In January, a group of six men were fined in Great Yarmouth for playing football together on a recreation ground.

And, earlier this month, police in Kent had to break up a 20 person match being held in Dartford.

Four men were fined after it was found the group had broken into a locked pitch via a hole in the fence.

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