A WOMAN who refused to close her gym during the coronavirus lockdown has been ordered to pay more than £1,000.

Michelle Meade-Wyatt claimed her gym was operating under common law and did not need to close when officers responded to reports the business was breaching Covid rules.

The Ripped Gym had already been told it would need to close by Harlow Council prior to the second national lockdown in November last year.

But when council staff and police officers visited the gym on 5 November, there were customers inside using the equipment.

A woman, later identified as owner Meade-Wyatt , refused to cooperate with police or provide personal information.

She handed the officers a note claiming the gym was running under common law.

Officers said they were looking to issue a fine for a breach of Covid rules but after 40 minutes, they were left with no choice but to arrest Meade-Wyatt.

Meade-Wyatt, of Pygons Hill Lane, Liverpool, was charged with breaching Covid rules and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,205.

Speaking after the hearing, Assistant Chief Constable Rachel Nolan, said: “This case is a very clear example of a blatant breach of the legislation, which not only put people’s health at risk, but at a time when infection rates were rising.

“Harlow Council staff and our officers had made extensive attempts to engage with the gym owner to resolve this situation.

“Enforcement action could have been avoided entirely but unfortunately we were given no choice but to take the matter to court.

“We know the restrictions have had a major impact on business owners, but the vast majority made sacrifices to keep their customers safe and to comply with the legislation.

“I want to thank the hundreds of business owners who have done this and have kept themselves and others safe to protect the NHS and save lives.”