A a persistent beggar has been ordered to pay almost £ 2,500 for sitting in the parking lot outside Tesco during the third nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.
Lorraine Kent, 58, was accosted twice by Met police officers within two weeks while begging for money in February.
Officers said she ignored instructions to leave the Streatham parking lot and claimed to wait for a friend or family member each time.
England were under a Level 4 lockdown at the time of the offenses, with the public being urged to stay home unless they have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to go out.
Kent, who lives in sheltered accommodation, was first fined £ 200 by police for breaking the rules, but was subsequently prosecuted for two breaches of the Covid-19 regulations when she failed did not pay the financial fine.
Kent was found guilty in his absence by a magistrate sitting behind closed doors at the end of June and was ordered to pay two fines of £ 1,100 plus legal costs and costs totaling £ 275.
PC Valerio Nicotra met Kent on February 1, describing her as a “persistent beggar” who was already known to local officers.
“She was hanging out in front of the Tesco parking lot, sitting on the floor, begging not to wear a mask.
“I had asked Lorraine what she was doing twice and to explain where she was.
“The first time she said she was expecting a friend, then she said she was expecting a family member. Kent would not be withdrawing from the site. (She) was not following Covid-19 guidelines by being near the supermarket, not buying groceries and potentially increasing the rate of infections and putting members of the public at risk. “
The officer added that Kent “didn’t make much sense” when she received the police warning and warned them that she would be fined.
Sergeant Lee-Ann Mills had a similar encounter with Kent on February 12, finding her sitting near the doors leading from the underground parking lot to the supermarket.
“I denounced her for the Covid-19 violation and told her that since this was the second time she had committed the violation, the fine would be doubled,” she said.
“She said she didn’t care and wanted to get fines so she could go to jail. She got up and finally left the store.
The vast majority of London prosecutions have been handled by Westminster magistrates under the Single Court process, in closed hearings where the defendants are not present.
Violators have been fined up to £ 14,000 for breaking foreclosure rules, with the threat of bailiffs and possible jail time if the money is not paid within one month.
It took seven weeks for the full details of Kent’s convictions to be revealed by the court to this newspaper. It is not yet known whether she paid the fines.
Kent, of Streatham, did not file any pleas or interact with the court process. She was found guilty of being a person living in the level 4 zone, leaving or being outside of a place where she lived without a reasonable excuse, contrary to Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020.