A holiday let owner in County Durham has been ordered to pay almost £3,000 for breaching coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Durham County Council took legal action against Tracey Robinson, owner of West Farm Holiday Lets in Cold Hesledon, Seaham, after she was found operating during last year’s national lockdown.
Police officers visited the holiday accommodation in February after receiving reports of a potential breach of covid regulations which, at the time, prohibited holiday lets from operating.
Officers spoke to three women who were using one of the lets and confirmed they had paid to stay at the accommodation for the evening.
Police then witnessed a second set of people in a nearby let, who also confirmed they did not live at the site and were staying in the holiday accommodation.
Appearing at Peterlee Magistrates Court, Robinson pleaded not guilty to breaching the covid regulations in the belief that the people staying at the site were NHS staff using the holiday lets for respite.
However, magistrates heard that the women had paid an advanced deposit to stay in the accommodation and were not carers using the holiday let for respite or using it for work purposes, which were the requirements for exemption.
Magistrates found that the incident breached the Tier 4 lockdown restrictions, and that Robinson was guilty of operating a business in contravention of covid regulations.
Robinson, 50, was ordered to pay a £2,000 fine, £190 victim surcharge and £672 in costs.
Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection, said: “We have been investigating a number of complaints into the operation of West Farm during lockdown restrictions, which over the last year has resulted in multiple enforcement notices and legal action.
“We take breaches of this kind very seriously, and this case has shown that Robinson was indeed breaching restrictions during a significant time in the coronavirus pandemic, putting the safety of others at risk.”
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