A group of Andover residents ended up with a more expensive barbecue than they bargained for after breaching lockdown rules in town.

Police officers said they were called to “numerous Covid-19 breaches” at the weekend, with fines totalling thousands being handed out to those found breaching the rules.

One group of six who were found attending a friend’s barbecue were roasted online by police, who said that they ‘hoped the food was worth it!’

Andover’s neighbourhood policing team said: “You are all aware by now what the rules are and why they are in place. Please be patient and the summer will soon be here. By then, if we all follow them, we can hopefully get back to normal.

“Officers do not want to be doing this but we will enforce the rules to protect others.”

Under current lockdown rules, gatherings of under 15 are an offence, carrying a penalty of £200, or £100 if paid within 14 days. This doubles for each further offence to a maximum of £6,400. For gatherings of over 15 people, penalties of £800 are in place, again doubling each time until £6,400.

Those organising gatherings of more than 30 can be fined up to £10,000.

The group having a barbecue in Andover were visited by police officers, and each individual fined £200, bringing the total penalty to £1,200.

Regarding lockdown breaches, Hampshire Constabulary’s assistant chief constable Maggie Blyth said: “We’re increasingly seeing reports of gatherings of people from multiple households as some members of the public are struggling to observe the national restrictions in place. Not all these gatherings are of this size, but they are all breaching the current Health Protection Regulations and putting lives at risk.

“The message is simple, stay at home. Anyone who does not follow the Health Protection Regulations faces enforcement action.

“It’s disappointing that the minority are flouting the regulations when the vast majority of people in our communities have made such a concerted effort in such challenging times.

“Our officers will do all that they can to keep our communities safe. We will continue to follow the tried and tested approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging people to comply with the restrictions. However I continue to emphasise to our teams that robust enforcement action should be taken as required, where blatant breaches in public places or private premises are reported to us.

"Limiting the spread of infection is everybody’s responsibility, and not just down to the police or enforcement. We will continue to work with our health colleagues, businesses, government, hospitality owners, local authorities, universities, and others, as we ensure that we all play our part in keeping our communities as safe as possible throughout the pandemic."