Bloke fuming over £2k fine after taking face mask off in shop for 16 seconds

A bloke has been slapped with an eye-watering £2,000 fine after taking his face mask off in a shop "for 16 seconds".

Christopher O'Toole said he wore a face covering as he entered inside of the store, but began to feel unwell and took the mask off briefly as he went to leave the shop.

The man says he was approached last February by police officers, who took his name down for not wearing a mask inside of the store.

Rules over masks in stores were still in effect at the time of the incident, but O'Toole says he had taken the mask off briefly after feeling unwell.

Speaking to Liverpool Echo, O'Toole, who said he has no problem wearing masks in public, said: "I was worrying when the police pulled me and I was just asking can I go?

"They said I could go after taking my name and I thought that was that and didn't think about it."

The 30-year-old was shopping in B&M Bargains and thought nothing of the incident until he received a letter from ACRO Criminal Records Office telling him he had to pay a £100 fine.

But O'Toole said he was not going to pay the fine as he had only taken his mask off briefly.

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He said: "I emailed them saying I wasn't going to pay a fine for taking my mask off for something like 16 seconds – not a chance.

"I didn't hear anything back from anyone for months until I got a letter at the start of December saying I owed £2,000."

O'Toole added that he was worried when he got the letter since it was so close to Christmas, saying: "It was four weeks before Christmas and they wanted the whole amount.

"They could have taken my full wages and I still wouldn't have been able to have it cleared. I emailed them back and found out it had gone to court without me knowing.

He is set to appear in court in February to dispute the fine, and said "I am worried – but I want to get the chance to be able to fight my case."

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