Police give pensioner, 82, warning over socially-distanced cup of tea with neighbour in garden

Ellen Manning
·3 min read
Mature Woman Visiting Lonely Senior Mother In Garden During Lockdown
Police visited a pensioner to give her a warning over having a cup of tea with fellow residents at a sheltered housing complex. (Getty)

A pensioner was given a warning by police after having a socially-distanced cup of tea with her neighbours in the communal garden at their sheltered housing complex.

The 82-year-old was watching TV in bed late at night when police knocked her door to tell her she had been reported for drinking tea outside with her neighbours, in what they said was a breach of COVID lockdown regulations.

Her daughter Lesley Magovern said she was disgusted by her mother's experience and has filed a complaint with police.

The 56-year-old, from Cheltenham, said her mother had only moved into the sheltered housing complex in Charlton Kings just before lockdown and had been having a socially-distanced cup of tea on the afternoon of 9 March with three other residents from the same complex.

But she was left shocked and upset when police knocked on her door at 9.45pm the same night to warn her that she had been reported and she would be fined if she did it again.

Shot of the back of a police officer's jacket with the word police written across the back
The family have accused police of wasting resources to visit a pensioner to warn her about having a cup of tea. (Getty)

Her daughter said: “There were two officers stood there, a man and a woman with masks on and they asked if they could come in and speak to her. They did not show her any identification so she just trusted the uniform and she was quite frightened. My mother has never been in trouble with the police in her life.”

“When they were there, they told mother if it were to happen again she would be fined. Then they asked her to provide identification so she was rooting around trying to find some. Finally she ended up showing them an out of date drivers licence as that is all she had.”

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She said the officers were about to knock on the doors of the other residents involved but were urged not to because one has poor health.

"I cannot believe the police travelled from Gloucester to Charlton Kings so late for something so ridiculous," she said.

"I really do not understand why the police thought a few elderly folk drinking tea, socially distanced in a communal garden is a priority.

"My son works for the London Met and even he could not believe what I was telling him. We all have been left thinking, what a waste of police resources."

The officers were part of a COVID response team, Gloucestershire Police said.

A spokeswoman for the force said: “An officer has spoken to the complainant and an explanation was provided in response to concerns raised. She was content with this and the matter has been resolved.

“Police received a report of a potential COVID breach on Tuesday 9 March at 1.30pm suspecting that there was a gathering involving people from multiple households in a residential garden in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham.

“COVID response officers attended later that day at around 9.45pm where some residents were spoken to and given words of advice around current restrictions.

“Officers are deployed to incidents based on an assessment of the threat, risk and harm of the incident and in this case officers who are part of the COVID response team and are deployed across the county attended later that evening.”

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown