York woman first to be arrested under new coronavirus transport laws

Newcastle Station. Photograph: Roger Cornfoot / geograph.org.uk
1 Apr 2020 @ 11.27 am
| Crime

A York woman has been fined over £800 at court after being found guilty to railway offences and breaching the new coronavirus restrictions, following the first arrest of its kind on the railway network.

Marie Dinou, 41, of Oak Tree Close, York, appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates Court on Monday (30 March).

She received a £660 fine for failing to comply with requirements imposed under the Coronavirus Act 2020, as well as an £85 fine for ticket fraud and £80 in costs.

On Saturday (28 March) at around 8am, British Transport Police officers at Newcastle Central station received a report from rail staff of a woman loitering between platforms.

Officers said they approached Dinou and engaged with her in an attempt to understand her reasons for essential travel, but following several more attempts by officers to explain and encourage she refused to speak to officers.

Having explored all options, Dinou was arrested on suspicion of travel fraud and breaching the restrictions imposed under the new Coronavirus Act 2020.

‘A last resort’

Assistant Chief Constable Sean O’Callaghan said: “While a ticket offence had also been committed in this case, enforcement of any sort under the new regulations really is a last resort, especially arrest.

“In this case, officers tried their upmost best to engage with Dinou. I can assure you we would much rather not have to take such action.”

“We strongly urge the public to do the right thing and help us save lives by staying at home and slowing the spread of the virus.”