Coronavirus: Visiting workers who broke island virus laws jailed

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Self-isolation sign at sea terminal
Image caption,
The group travelled to the island to work on the Manx Electric Railway

Five welders visiting the Isle of Man from England for work have been jailed after breaking the island's coronavirus quarantine rules.

The men, from Doncaster in South Yorkshire, were permitted to visit the island to work on the Manx Electric Railway.

Under quarantine rules, they were permitted to travel between their hotel accommodation and workplace only.

But the group were reported to police for buying alcohol from a supermarket.

Luke Fletcher, 22, Christopher Lafayette, 62, Michael Smith, 43, Jack Smith, 18, and Robbie Rhodes, 18, were each jailed for 14 days.

They all admitted going into Tesco in Douglas after arriving via ferry on Tuesday.

The group had been given exemption certificates to visit the island for work purposes between 29 September and 1 October.

The island's border remains closed to non-residents unless they have been given special permission.

'Busy store'

After their arrival, the welders travelled by van to the supermarket before buying items including alcohol and sausage rolls, Douglas Courthouse heard.

When another customer asked one of the men why they were wearing masks, suspicions were aroused when he replied they had "just got off the boat", the court heard.

There is currently no social distancing on the Isle of Man and mask wearing is not compulsory in public spaces.

Staff later reported the group to police, and they were arrested at their hotel.

When questioned, one admitted the group had agreed to the shopping trip during the ferry crossing.

The men's defence advocates told the court their exemption certificates had been left on the dashboard of their vehicles and they had not read them properly.

The prosecution said a supervisor who had travelled over with the group had advised them not to enter the shop.

Sentencing them, magistrates chairman Belinda Pilling said the men made a "planned trip" to the store and had simply "closed their eyes" to the island's rules.

Other customers in the "busy" store "would have expected it to be free from infection", she said.

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