As first reported by Island Echo yesterday (Sunday), the group of 6 volunteers were each slapped with a £100 fine whilst giving Ventnor FC a spruce up, with claims a disgruntled dog walker reported them to the authorities.
It was said at the time that Police told them the volunteering work being carried out was not essential maintenance and therefore did not qualify as being permitted under the coronavirus regulations.
Hampshire Constabulary has today confirmed the full circumstances of the situation and has said that all 6 fines have been torn up.
A spokesperson for the force has said:
“We were called to the sports centre on Whitwell Road, Ventnor, at around 4pm on Saturday 27 February, after reports of a gathering of people drinking inside.
“Six men were initially reported for summons by the attending officer in relation to fixed penalty notices for suspected breaches of the current Health Protection Regulations by gathering. The men were compliant and left the premises.
“Subsequent enquiries have confirmed that the football club had been aware that the men were undertaking voluntary work, which is covered as an exemption to the regulations, to maintain the buildings in support of grass roots football. The men were taking a break when an officer attended.
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“Based on the new information that has been confirmed the men will no longer face fixed penalty notices.
“We would like to remind the public that while the current national restrictions are in place until at least the end of March, people are advised to stay indoors and only leave for essential reasons. This includes leaving home for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it isn’t reasonably possible to do so from home”.
A fundraiser was set up to help pay the group’s fines, with the money now set to be donated to Ventnor Football Club. To date over £800 has been raised.