Police have given their side of events after the decision to fine a busker in York city centre caused widespread concern.
As we reported on Saturday, piano player Alistair Lawrence was given a fixed penalty notice and fined £200 for breaching Covid regulations.
Officers told him he was breaching coronavirus regulations by performing and drawing a crowd.
Alistair believes he was doing his job – busking – which he can’t do from home, and that wasn’t breaking the rules.
The story created a lot of comment on social media, with most people on the side of the busker.
We then reported how other buskers had apparently been treated differently by both the Covid marshals and police, with some being allowed to play on.
‘Contravened an instruction’
Matt Welburn filmed the police approaching both Alistair and fellow busker Karl Mullen on Saturday. You can watch an edited version above.
Meanwhile, the police have issued a statement to YorkMix today (Tuesday).
A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “On Saturday 27 March 2021, officers attended reports of a street performer in York city centre who had been previously been spoken to by local Covid Marshals and encouraged to desist from playing, due to the Covid regulations in place at the time.
“Officers engaged with the individual and explained the current regulations and the risks posed and encouraged the individual to leave the area.
“The individual chose not to follow the officer’s direction and a Covid Fixed Penalty Notice was served on the grounds of contravening an officer’s instruction.
“North Yorkshire Police take its responsibility in policing the pandemic seriously and is committed to working alongside partner agencies in the city centre to ensure our local communities can emerge from lockdown as safely as possible and rates of infection stay at a controlled level.”