Police have dished out 3,203 lockdown fines - as 'car park' trick being used by drug dealers is exposed

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Police have issued 3,203 fines for alleged breaches of coronavirus lockdown laws in just over two weeks.

But they have scrapped 39 fines given to 16 and 17-year-olds after discovering they had no powers to target children.

There has also been a 28% fall in overall reported crime compared with the same period (27 March 13 April) last year.

The figures were given in a briefing by police chiefs who said criminals were having to adapt to the new restrictions.

This photo illustration taken on January 28, 2020 shows protective face masks in Bangkok. - Thailand has detected 14 cases so far of the novel coronavirus, a virus similar to the SARS pathogen, an outbreak which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo by MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Police said a man had been stopped with 14kg of cocaine hidden among face masks. File pic

Lynne Owens, director-general of the National Crime Agency, said county lines drug dealers were frustrated at the travel ban.

She said: "They are dealing drugs in supermarket car parks and passing themselves off as key workers to try to avoid police."

She also said a Polish lorry driver stopped by Border Force officers at Dover on Tuesday night had 14kg of cocaine hidden in a consignment of face masks.

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Woman fined £660 for refusing to say why she was out

Woman fined £660 for refusing to say why she was out

Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), said forces were "in a good position" to deal with enforcing COVID-19 restrictions, in spite of 10% staff absence.

He said most crime had fallen - with rape down 37%, serious assault 27%, burglaries down 37% and vehicle crime down 34%. Domestic abuse was up 3%.

Anti-social behaviour was up 59%, largely linked to people ignoring coronavirus restrictions.

Sara Glen, of the NPCC, said eight out of ten of the 3,203 people fined for breaking lockdown rules were men, two-thirds of them aged 18-34.

She said some 60% were white, insisting that police were not acting disproportionately.