Stalybridge man fined for ignoring social distancing measures

A STALYBRIDGE man has been one of the first people in the country to be punished for ignoring new rules on social distancing.

Steven Mackie was ordered to pay a total of £635 after approaching people stood outside the town’s Tesco supermarket.

Police originally took the 53-year-old to his home on Stamford Street but he was back just 15 minutes later on Saturday, March 28.

Magistrates in Stockport heard Mackie told officers when he was taken home: “I’ll see you there.”

He was said to have told them the second time: “I was six feet away according to Boris Johnson’s guidelines.

“What a waste of time and public money this is. Six officers.

“Haven’t you got anything better to do?”

Kirsten Collings, defending, said the defendant did not dispute the facts of the prosecution case, although he believed he had not been doing anything wrong the first time officers confronted him.

“He’s embarrassed at his own behaviour, if I’m honest,” she said.

Chair of the bench Neil Brettell asked Mackie to count how many people were in the courtroom and when he answered ’14’ he added: “That’s how many you have put at risk through you not behaving.”

“It’s a little bit late to be sorry.

“What would have happened if you had infected somebody? Nobody likes to self-isolate. Nobody likes lockdown. The majority of people understand it’s going to save lives. You are quite happy in a way to kill people are you?”

Mr Brettell added he had been, ‘given a chance,’ by police but, ‘ignored them.’

“I’m not allowed to send you to prison,” he continued.

“The law does not allow it. However, you have spent two days in custody because of your own stupidity.”

Mackie pleaded guilty to one count of failing to maintain public health and causing public disorder and nuisance contrary to regulations 6, 9 (1b and 4) of the Health Protection Regulations 2020 at the hearing on Monday, March 30.

He was fined £500 and ordered to pay £135 costs.

“I hope that really hurts you,” said the chair of the bench.

As he was led away by dock officers, Mackie said: “I’m sorry for wasting all your time. Sorry.”

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