A group of six volunteers, who were each fined £100 for helping to decorate Ventnor Football Club, will not have to pay after all.
In response to a report from a passer-by, police visited the club and told the volunteers that, as their work was not essential maintenance, it was not exempt under Covid-19 regulations.
However, an Isle of Wight Police spokesman said that further enquiries confirmed the club had been aware the men were undertaking voluntary work and the fines should not have been issued.
George Creighton, Ventnor First team manager, said: “A group of volunteers were painting the outside of the clubhouse, getting ready for the restart of the season. Following a call from a dog-walker the local PCSO arrived. We explained the situation but understood he had no choice but to report us, even though we all work together during the week.
“We set up a crowd-funding page to pay the fine and quickly raised over £800. We have been overwhelmed by the response of the community. We understand the police then looked at the bodycam footage and found we were very respectful of the position the PCSO was in, and he also wrote up a very accurate account of the events. Each volunteer has been called to be told the fine was being dropped.
“So from what was a frustrating and disappointing incident, it has been a positive outcome and donors are happy with their donations going to enable the club to open safely. We’d like to thank all those that have supported the club and the police for their understanding of the situation.”
The police spokesman confirmed: “We were called to the sports centre on Whitwell Road, Ventnor, at arou
nd 4pm on Saturday, February 27, 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.
“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.”