A trader has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £2,500 for breaching coronavirus regulations following a prosecution brought by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
At a hearing at Bath Magistrates on Thursday 22nd April, the court heard 35-year-old Nicholas Owen, the proprietor of Solar Tanning of Pithay House on the High Street, Paulton had opened the tanning shop for business during lockdown since 11th January 2021.
As the result of a complaint, a police officer went to the business premises on 12th January and found the front door open.
Although nobody was on the premises at the time, a sign on the reception desk offered tanning facilities and gave a phone number to ring. The officer then found two card receipts showing customers had purchased services on 11th and 12th January.
As Owen had already received advice from Bath & North East Somerset Council including the serving of notices, the case was referred to the council to prosecute under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020.
Owen failed to attend court, and the court heard in his absence that the council’s Public Protection Team had previously served a prohibition notice on Owen and that council officers had visited Solar Tanning’s premises and served a £1,000 fixed penalty notice.
Owen failed to pay the fixed penalty notice and as a result, the council issued criminal proceedings against him.
Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “I am pleased to say that the vast majority of B&NES traders have complied with lockdown rules even though that may have been challenging for their businesses and our officers have found legal compliance to be extremely high in the area.
“Owen’s rule breaches are an exceptional case where he has demonstrated a complete lack of regard for residents.
“In the middle of January when Covid-19 deaths nationally were at over 1,000 per day, he opened his shop with little apparent regard for potential virus transmission.
“I would like to thank the majority of traders for their co-operation with our officers during this difficult time.”