HUNDREDS of people breaking coronavirus guidelines received fines from Wiltshire Police during months of lockdowns.

The force has been giving out fewer fixed penalty notices since restrictions began to ease in April but still emphasised the importance of following safety measures to stop the deadly virus spreading.

Figures published by the National Police Chiefs’ Council reveal a total of 762 fixed penalty notices were issued by Wiltshire Police between March 27 last year and May 16 this year.

They include 12 fines handed out after April 18 – 98 fewer than the 110 processed in the previous five weeks.

Concerned neighbours often alerted officers about illegal house parties which dozens of people attended despite bans on mixing indoors and strict rule-of-six limits on the number of friends allowed to meet up at once.

Devizes schoolboy Isaac Parsons was fined £10,000 after a school leaving do he had for a few friends at his house got out of control when gatecrashers from a nearby pub joined in last September.

A district judge at a case management hearing in Swindon Magistrates' Court later dismissed the case against the teenager, who is now studying at university.

Officers who broke up a Haydon Wick birthday bash in February released body-cam footage of the sight that greeted them when they were called to Primrose Lane, with loud music booming from the property and several vehicles parked outside.

The 23 people at the scene, aged 21 to 64, each received an £800 fine for breaking Covid regulations. Some of the revellers found in the house had travelled from as far afield as Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire.

This party happened shortly after the UK's pandemic death toll surpassed 100,000.

One weekend at the end of March 2021 saw more than 20 people receive fines, including five adults at a Bembridge Close property, another group of five adults aged between 21 and 27 in a Whitehead Street house, five 18-year-olds in Raleigh Avenue, and six grown-ups celebrating a birthday in Kirkstall Close.

For more examples of lockdown rule-breakers receiving fines, click here.

Of the fines issued in Wiltshire between March 27 last year and May 16 this year the majority – 749 – were recorded under legislation which covers the restriction of movement and large gatherings.

Under other Covid-19-related regulations, there were seven for failing to wear a face covering when required, and three for breaching international travel rules.

There was one for breaking business regulations and two for breaches of self-isolation regulations.

Across England and Wales, 120,519 fines were issued by the 43 territorial police forces, British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence for alleged breaches of Covid-19-related laws.

Of those, 5,117 were handed out in the four weeks to May 16, down from 16,699 the month before.

Chairman of the NPCC Martin Hewitt, said a drop in the number of fines had been expected due to the lifting of restrictions but police officers would not stop in taking action against rule-breakers.

He added: “For the selfish minority who continue to blatantly break the rules, such as organising or attending illegal indoor gatherings, officers won’t hesitate to take necessary enforcement action.”

People issued with a fine – the maximum is £10,000 – have up to 28 days to pay. Those who cannot pay or wish to contest it can take the matter before the courts.

Assistant Chief Constable Deb Smith said: “With restrictions being eased, much of our normal police business has resumed.

"I’d like to thank the public for their support who, in the main, have been following the rules and helping us in our role to keep people safe and prevent the spread of the virus.

"Throughout the pandemic our officers and PCSOs have continued to adopt the approach of engaging with people to explain the rules, moving to enforcement and the issuing of warnings and fixed penalty notices where appropriate.

"It promises to be a busy summer ahead with a number of events such as the Euros, the Summer Solstice and musical festivals across the county to police so I would urge the public to carry on sticking to the rules and taking personal responsibility for their actions.”