A Romford-based fireworks trader has been lit up with a hefty fine for breaching COVID-19 regulations and opening his shops during lockdown, following an investigation by Havering Council.
Luke Vardy, owner of ‘Fireworks4Sale’, was charged with breaches of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) Regulations 2020 and the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984, at Barkingside Magistrates Court yesterday (Tuesday 5 October).
Vardy pleaded guilty to two charges in court, and was ordered to pay over £4,000 in fines and court fees.
Vardy came under investigation by Havering Council in November last year, after refusing to shut down his Romford or Harold Hill shops, or switch to a ‘click and collect’ service, despite clear guidance and repeated warnings from the Council.
Fireworks4Sale did not come under any of the Government’s classifications for essential retail, and remaining open posed a clear risk to the public in the midst of rocketing COVID-19 infection rates.
Vardy was initially offered guidance from the Council’s enforcement team, which he refused to follow. He was then served Fixed Penalty Notices by the Council, which he also refused to acknowledge.
Councillor Viddy Persaud, Cabinet Member for Enforcement, said:
“This businessman actively breached vital COVID-19 restrictions that were put in place to keep people safe from this awful virus. Mr Vardy wilfully put his customers and the people of Havering at risk by staying open.
“I’m glad that we have been able to bring him to justice for blatantly ignoring the rules. I hope this serves as a warning to other individuals who may overlook safety in order to turn a profit.”