A jogger was given a fixed penalty fine of £120 in Chiswick High Rd. Mark Meghezzi, a Commercial Director with artificial intelligence platform Afiniti, was allegedly fined for spitting on Tuesday 29 September, but he says he was just perspiring. He took to Twitter to vent his anger.
‘Is this really what it has come to?
‘Sadiq Khan I can’t imagine this is how you intended these resources to be deployed.
‘I received a fine from Sadiq Khan’s London Borough of Hounslow for doing nothing more than going for a run down Chiswick High Road.
‘I paused at Turnham Green Terrace and went down on my haunches (it was a tough one) and waited for the traffic lights to turn green.
‘As I did so, naturally the sweat poured off me and I blew some away from my lip, towards the road. This is natural and unavoidable when running’.
Why he thought a busy shopping street a good place for a run, he doesn’t explain.
‘I was then accosted by a very excited young ‘Covid Officer’ who advised me that I had been ‘observed spitting’ and who then very eagerly issued me with the £120 FPN in the picture.
‘I stood back (mostly in shock) after receiving the FPN from this ‘officer’.
‘I observed him repeat his truck twice more with passing joggers and cyclists, stopped at the lights.
‘Needless to say this FPN will not be being paid and a complaint has been raised against the individual for their conduct in issuing it.’
Interactions with the public captured on camera
His comments on social media were widely reported. Asked for a comment by the Mail Online, Leader of Hounslow Council, Cllr Steve Curran said:
‘The Fixed Penalty Notice was not given for any Covid offence or sweating, and nor was it issued by a Covid marshal. The notice was issued by an Enforcement Officer for spitting.
‘Officers tackle a wide range of offences to tackle environmental and anti-social behaviour to support the local community. All of our officers are provided with body-worn cameras that capture interactions between staff and members of the public. Details of why a Fixed Penalty Notice was issued is provided on the notice along with details of a representative process that allows for notices to be reviewed.’
‘Go and sweat and spit somewhere else’
Reactions in social media were split. Readers of the Daily Mail and were sympathetic. One calling themselves ‘Simbad’ on the Daily Star’s comment thread wrote:
‘A lot of fed up folk these days would have given this so called “officer” a good smack and run off !’
‘Can see a lot of these so called covid officers getting hurt soon’
On social media Stewart Jones wrote:
‘Nonsense. Man runs down busy road, sweats, spits during a pandemic. Tells the Daily Mail that he received a fine from Khan’s London Borough of Hounslow… Pay the fine. And go and sweat and spit somewhere else’.
Peter Evans added:
‘If people want to jog for exercise to the point of near exhaustion, they can go round and round the quiet perimeter of one of our many open spaces rather than using our busiest pavements along with many other pedestrians’.
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