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Illegal Ilford footballers narrowly escape police

Players flouting lockdown restrictions had a lucky escape from police this afternoon

Dozens of footballers playing in Ilford this afternoon narrowly escaped before police could take action.

A group of 40 were exposed on Twitter after a user filmed their match at Valentines Park and alerted the Redbridge Council leader.

The teams wore orange and yellow high-visibility vests and brought cones to mark out the pitch.

Cllr Jas Athwal replied to confirm an “enforcement team is on the way.”

But when officers arrived at 12.30pm “the group had dispersed,” said Sgt Carroll Weeden.

Underneath the Tweet one woman commented “omg, ridiculous” and another wrote “disgusting”.

The newly-appointed Redbridge cabinet member for crime and community cohesion Cllr Khayer Chowdhury wrote: “Shocking behaviour from some who believe they are somehow above the virus.

“The lockdown is in place for a reason. The last thing @BHRUT_NHS [Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals] needs right now is patients coming in with sporting injuries.”

Amateur team sporting events were banned earlier this week when Boris Johnson brought in new lockdown restrictions.

The match comes as police forces around the country are reportedly considering taking a tougher approach to those flouting the rules.

Since the start of the pandemic, forces have focused on engaging, explaining and encouraging people to stick to the rules.

But it’s thought the new approach could lead to more fines being imposed.

For more on this story, and the latest on our other local and national news, listen to Time 107.5FM


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