A CAFÉ in Boscombe has been fined after BCP Council said it repeatedly ignored its advice that it should close.

The owners of Le Munch in Christchurch Road were handed the £1,000 fixed penalty notice after allowing customers to eat and drink on its premises.

It is one of only two businesses in the BCP Council area to have been fined with cabinet member for community safety, councillor May Haines, saying enforcement was only used after “extensive engagement”.

Speaking at Monday’s scrutiny board meeting, she said a “significant number of calls” citing non-compliance with legislation were received.

On the first weekend of the lockdown, council officers, including its team of seven covid marshals and joined by police officers on occasion, visited about 100 businesses.

She said both businesses and the public had been confused by the new rules although most people had followed council guidance.

“We have found that there is some confusion and misunderstanding among businesses and the public about what is permitted and what is prohibited during the current lockdown,” he said.

“Our officers are out and about working closely with businesses offering advice and guidance, and this has been mostly well received.

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

Three fines of £1,000 have so far been issued by the council.

Two of these – one for each of its stores in Bournemouth and Poole – were given to Happy Buddha whose managing director refused to close citing the lack of any formal notice and financial support.

The third was issued to Le Munch which, Cllr Haines said, had been allowing people to eat and drink at its Christchurch Road café.

“The notice was served as Le Munch was allowing people to consume food and drink on the premises,” she said after the meeting.

“The current restrictions require businesses to close or close parts of the businesses which allow food and drink to be consumed on the premises.

“Several advice visits were made to the business to give them an opportunity to comply. Unfortunately, the advice went unheeded resulting in them receiving the notice.”

Le Munch was unavailable to comment on the fine.