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Police officers spotted sitting in packed London cafe in apparent lockdown breach

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3-min read
Police suspected to be dining inside The Chef House Kitchen Cafe, Greenwhich, east London on January 9 2021. See SWNS copy NNcafe: Police have been spotted flouting lockdown restrictions and tucking into breakfast inside a packed cafe.  Photos taken by a passer-by show several police cars parked outside the eatery with a number of officers dining inside, despite restrictions banning gatherings and restaurants from operating table service Brian Jennings, 44, regularly walks past the cafe, near the Greenwich Patrol Base, in Warspite Road south east London, for exercise and sees officers sitting inside eating while the rest of the UK is forbidden.
Police suspected to be dining inside The Chef House Kitchen Cafe, Greenwhich, east London. (SNWS)
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coronavirus latest news

Police officers appear to have flouted lockdown restrictions after being snapped sitting inside a packed cafe in south London.

Passer-by Brian Jennings, 44, took pictures of the officers sitting inside the Chef House Kitchen Cafe in Warspite Road, Greenwich on Friday.

The photos show several police cars parked outside the eatery and what appears to be a table of officers sitting inside.

This is despite the current nationwide restrictions banning gatherings and restaurants from operating table service.

Read: More than 100,000 Pfizer vaccine doses 'could have thrown out' amid guidance change

It comes as police forces around the country have ramped up efforts to crack down on people breaching lockdown rules.

Meanwhile, London Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a "major incident" in the UK capital on Friday as the city's hospitals verge on becoming overwhelmed with COVID.

Police suspected to be dining inside The Chef House Kitchen Cafe, Greenwhich, east London on January 9 2021. See SWNS copy NNcafe: Police have been spotted flouting lockdown restrictions and tucking into breakfast inside a packed cafe.  Photos taken by a passer-by show several police cars parked outside the eatery with a number of officers dining inside, despite restrictions banning gatherings and restaurants from operating table service Brian Jennings, 44, regularly walks past the cafe, near the Greenwich Patrol Base, in Warspite Road south east London, for exercise and sees officers sitting inside eating while the rest of the UK is forbidden.
Police suspected to be dining inside The Chef House Kitchen Cafe, Greenwhich, east London on January 9. (SWNS)

Jennings, an IT manager from Blackheath, said he was outraged by the sight after reading reports about members of the public being fined for going for a walk with a coffee.

He said: "There's a large police depot on the Thames riverside near me. I walk past it a few times a week because it's a nice quiet place to take exercise.

"On the neighbouring industrial estate, there's a cafe. We noticed in the first lockdown and then we noticed it again today that, regularly, first thing in the morning there will be half a dozen squad cars outside and every table full of police officers having breakfast in there.

"It's not a one-off. Its been going on for a few months. You read about people getting fined in the papers and it seems hypocritical as there's no attempt at social distancing in the cafe.

Watch: COVID-19: Lockdown data suggests people have become used to bending the rules

"It's a public cafe and it's open and it’s serving table service in lockdown - it is not good.

"It's about as bad as it gets in the UK with a virus and it's insensitive and stupid. I think it's really bad.

He added: "I find the regular, continued flouting of social distancing, and lockdown regulations by the police hypocritical and foolish at this time when the infection rates in Greenwich Borough are among the highest in the UK."

It comes as police forces across the country start taking a tougher approach to enforcing the measures, sparking some fierce criticism.

In Derbyshire, two friends Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore said they were fined £200 each for driving five miles to meet for a walk, adding that they were “treated like criminals”.

Read: Police crack down on lockdown rule breakers amid record number of COVID deaths

Meanwhile, police in Shropshire have come under fire for threatening people with fines if caught playing in the snow.

In London, the Met Police said people "can expect officers to be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about" to make sure they have a reasonable excuse for leaving their homes.

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs Council, said it was right for officers to be "inquisitive" about why people were outside.

Anyone "blatantly ignoring the regulations should expect to receive a fixed penalty notice," he said.

Met Police said they are aware of the photographs and are working to find out more information.

Watch: Will vaccines provide the way out of lockdown?