THOUSANDS of fines have been issued by police for breaches of Covid-19 laws since they came into force, the latest figures show.

Figures published by the National Police Chiefs' Council reveal that a total of 2,915 fixed penalty notices were issued by Thames Valley Police between March 27 last year and May 16 this year, with fewer fines handed out since restrictions eased.

They include 85 fines handed out after April 18 – 281 fewer than the 366 processed in the previous five weeks.

The latest figures cover the easing of restrictions on April 12, which saw the return of outdoor hospitality, non-essential retail and gyms as well as the 'rule of six' outdoors.

However, they do not cover the May 17 reopening which saw different households allowed to mix indoors for the first time in months.

Of the fines issued in the Thames Valley between March 27 last year and May 16 this year the majority – 2,843 – were recorded under legislation which covers the restriction of movement and large gatherings.

Under other Covid-19-related regulations, there were 19 for failing to wear a face covering when required, and 34 for breaching international travel rules.

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There were also 16 for breaking business regulations and three for breaches of self-isolation regulations.

The figures, which are updated monthly and cover the whole coronavirus period, could be impacted by fines processed late from previous months, as well as cancellations, the NPCC has said.

Just last week an Oxford man was ordered to pay £2,026 for a lockdown 'party' at Tesco in Oxford Retail Park back in November.

Tommy Holmes, who lives at Saunders Road, appeared at Oxford Magistrates' Court in May on charges detailing a gathering of more than two people at the petrol station at a time when the country was in its second lockdown.

However, human rights campaign group Liberty said that 'rapidly changing rules, chaotic communications and a misguided emphasis on criminal justice over public health' led to confusion over the fine system and meant interpretation of coronavirus restrictions varied across different police force areas.

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Head of policy and campaigns Sam Grant, said: "At the outset of this pandemic, the Government created sweeping and coercive powers to enforce rules that were communicated chaotically.

"Add to this rapid changes and local lockdowns and policing was inevitably going to be uneven."

Across England and Wales, 120,519 fines were issued by the 43 territorial police forces, British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence for alleged breaches of Covid-19-related laws.

Of those, 5,117 were handed out in the four weeks to May 16, down from 16,699 the month before.