THE Happy Buddha store in Poole, which refused to close for the latest national lockdown, has been fined £1,000.

BCP Council officials say they issued a fixed penalty notice after the business owner failed to follow guidance and advice offered.

More than 100 businesses across Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch were visited over the weekend and offered guidance to ensure lockdown restrictions were being followed correctly, officials said.

Fourteen environmental health and trading standards officers, supported by Covid marshals were on patrol on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, following up on a number of complaints made that some businesses were flouting Covid lockdown restrictions.

Read more: Happy Buddha shop in Poole refuses to close for lockdown

Before the weekend the Daily Echo reported how Happy Buddha managing director Chris Kettle said he had not received any notice that he had to close and – unlike during the first lockdown when he voluntarily shut his High Street shop –this time around he had not received any financial support to offset any losses.

He also said he had eleven members of staff to consider and that his shop, which sells Buddha-related products, aromatherapy, candles and incense should be categorised as essential.

Late yesterday, BCP Council announced it had issued the fixed penalty notice. Mr Kettle was unavailable for comment.

However, speaking on the weekend's wider Covid restrictions clampdown, Cllr May Haines, portfolio holder for community safety at BCP Council, said: "Since the start of lockdown, our officers have been visiting local businesses to provide advice and guidance on the current government rules, including who can safely remain open and the types of services they can continue to offer at this time.

“We have found that there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding among businesses and the public about what is permitted and what is prohibited during lockdown and so it’s important our officers are out and about working closely with businesses offering advice and guidance.

"On the whole, this support has been well received and business owners have taken on board the advice given.

"It is only when a business refuses to follow the restrictions, despite extensive engagement, that we have to consider taking enforcement action."

BCP Council said the majority of advice provided over the weekend included telling businesses operating as takeaway to remove outdoor seating, reminders to wear correct face coverings, display correct safety signage and operating as click and collect only.

Environmental health officers and trading standards officers say they will continue to monitor compliance with the regulations, with police support if appropriate.

Businesses and venues that breach restrictions will potentially be subject to prohibition notices, and a person who carries on a business in contravention of the regulations may be issued with a fine.

Fines are for £1,000 for the first offence, £2,000 for the second offence, £4,000 for the third and then £10,000 for the fourth and any subsequent offences.