Customer arrives for haircut as barber tells police he is not open for business

Exchange with barber who says he did not know if it was illegal to cut people's hair in his home caught on bodycam

Kate Ng
Thursday 04 February 2021 13:01
Barber denies lockdown haircuts - then customer arrives

A barber was caught breaching coronavirus regulations after a customer called him to say he had arrived for his appointment – immediately after the barber had told police he was not open for business.

Kent Police filmed the exchange on bodycam, which shows the owner answering the phone while officers were standing next to him.

Two officers went to the barbershop in Northfleet on 27 January after receiving reports of a business breaching coronavirus regulations, and spoke to a man there who confirmed he is the owner.

One officer says: “I’ll level with you, sir. You’re not doing appointments for people still during lockdown are you?”

The man says no at first, but later says: “I’m not cutting much, honestly.”

Police ask if customers are going to the man’s house to receive haircuts, and the man claims he does not know “if it is illegal or not”.

As officers are explaining that it is illegal for him to be operating his barbershop and having customers come to his home for haircuts, the man’s phone rings repeatedly.

He answers it and the caller appears to say: “Hello, I’m out back” and “You rung me earlier”. One of the officers is seen going to the back door to take a look.

Later, the officers say: “You quite clearly just had a customer phone you up. He arranged an appointment with you to come cut his hair earlier on. So you are quite clearly still cutting people’s hair.”

The man was issued a fine, said the force. Nearly 1,000 Covid-related  fines have been issued by Kent Police since 1 January. Other breaches include an official football match involving more than 20 people, which took place on Sunday.

Assistant chief constable Claire Nix said in a statement: "Whilst it is encouraging that the rate of infection is falling and more people are being vaccinated, now is not the time to drop our guard and be complacent, we are not yet at the stage where lockdown can be relaxed.

"We will not hesitate in taking action against those who blatantly ignore lockdown measures and put some of the most vulnerable members of our community at risk."

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