ONE of the two women arrested for apparently sitting on a seafront bench on Saturday denied police claims it had been a ‘stage-managed’ incident.

Marcia Baker, 50, admitted to being anti-lockdown and to previously attending protests in Bournemouth but said that wasn’t the reason why said she was at the seaside on Saturday.

Ms Baker, who runs a tattoo studio, claimed she visited Bournemouth beach with her elderly father to walk along the prom, pick some seashells and have some coffee.

She said she spent several hours in a police cell and was laughed at and called a ‘conspiracy theorist’ after her arrest.

Dorset police said on Sunday that the two middle-aged women who were arrested for breaching Covid-19 laws had been protesting that day and had ignored warnings to disperse.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan said the video of the two women being arrested posted on social media had been ‘stage-managed’.

But Ms Baker, a single mother from Poole, Dorset, said: “I’m annoyed at the police for saying it was stage-managed because that’s not true.

“I have been to previous protests but this time I had decided to go into Bournemouth for the day with my elderly father to walk along the beach and pick some seashells.

“We were sat on the bench for an hour drinking coffee and talking to a few people and then suddenly six coppers made a beeline for us.

“They asked me to leave and I picked up my bag but then they surrounded me to put the cuffs on me.

“I was just drinking a cup of coffee which I didn’t think was a crime.

“I don’t know the person who took the video. It was a random bystander. The police were arresting everyone.

“I spent hours in the cells being laughed at and called a conspiracy theorist.

“I asked what law I had broken and they wouldn’t say. They just said I was contravening regulations.

“In the end they let me go without charge as long as I pay a fine. I don’t know how much it is. I didn’t do anything wrong. It was horrible.

“I don’t believe in lockdown because I’m a small business owner. My shop has been shut down twice because of it and I’m losing my livelihood.”

It is believed both women later gave their details at police custody and were de-arrested and issued with fixed penalty notices.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan said: “We believe this video was planned, stage-managed and recorded by members of the protest group who turned up in multiple areas, several of whom refused to engage or provide their details.

"Throughout the afternoon officers gathered evidence on people who had attended the protest and were persistently staying within the area for a prolonged period of time.

“Those people, including those who were arrested, had earlier engagement and were warned by officers.”

“Two of the arrested people later supplied their details at police custody and were subsequently de-arrested and issued fixed penalty notices.”