A Heywood man who organised anti-lockdown gatherings in Queen’s Park during a national coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown has been fined following a hearing at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court.
At the court on 29 April 2022, Daniel Carr of Lennox Walk, Heywood, was found guilty of 2 breaches of COVID-19 regulations that took place in the park on 20 February 2021 and 27 February 2021, and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £4,160.
The national COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time meant that it was illegal to organise or attend gatherings and meetings with anyone outside your household or support bubble. Rochdale Borough Council’s public protection team became aware that Mr Carr was planning to defy COVID-19 lockdown regulations and evidence showed that he had invited people to attend large gatherings in Queen’s Park, Heywood.
Prior to the events, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the council warned Mr Carr that he was acting against the law and his actions could pose a serious and imminent threat to public health. Although he was served with a direction to stop the events from taking place, Mr Carr continued to actively encourage people to attend through a series of social media posts and after ignoring further warnings was eventually arrested.
Mark Widdup, director of neighbourhoods for Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The actions of Mr Carr were not only a breach of the national regulations that were in place at the time, they were also an affront to the majority of people who made great personal sacrifices in order to help protect others from a virus that has claimed the lives of hundreds of people in our borough.
“Data showed that transmission in the borough of Rochdale between households was a key driver for the increase in our infection rates and at the time Rochdale, along with 6 other Greater Manchester local authority districts, had infection rates higher than the national average. Although the risks of transmission were generally considered to be lower outdoors compared to indoors, there were still significant risks of transmission with people congregating in large numbers and being closer than two metres from each other. Mr Carr’s actions demonstrated a complete disregard for the legislation and his selfish actions put others at risk.”