A 72-year-old man has been sentenced to six months in prison for serving snacks in an area that was under lockdown during the Covid pandemic in 2020.
British man Maurice Snelling was arrested for serving mince pies and wine at a shooting club in Cloudside, northwest England.
Snelling was convicted for breaking tier-three restrictions at Cloudside Shooting Grounds during Christmas 2020.
At the time, venues in Staffordshire were only allowed to operate as a takeaway or a drive-through.
However, Snelling argues that his club is positioned outside of the area’s restrictions.
The BBC reports that “Snelling broke tier three restrictions” by allowing people to sit inside his premises.
Cloudside man who served mince pies in lockdown jailed – BBC News https://t.co/EzPZjbPC4F
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Snelling pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice but argued that his club was in an area where restrictions stated visitors could sit inside and consume drinks if they were accompanied by food.
The judge presiding over the case was not convinced, however.
“I find it hard to believe that Mr. Snelling didn’t know which lockdown tier he was in,” the judge said.
Police disrupted the gatherings at the time after residents in the area reported Snelling.
He reportedly refused to provide police CCTV from the club and allegedly attempted to have the footage destroyed.
The move prompted the police to force the contractor company hosting the footage on a hard drive to hand it over to authorities.
The lawyer representing Snelling told the BBC that he has suffered ill health since the case began.
“This has tarnished his reputation,” the lawyer stated.
“He believed he was targeted by neighbors and this built up resentment of a man with good character.”
The report also notes that the judge believed Snelling to be “anti-establishment, especially to the police.
“He doesn’t like being told what to do.
“He treated police with resentment.”