Plymouth coffee shop ordered to pay £42k over Covid lockdown breaches slams Boris Johnson

Finla Coffee was ordered to pay £42K for lockdown breaches Credit: BPM Media

A Plymouth coffee shop which closed after being ordered to pay £42k for lockdown breaches has slammed Boris Johnson in the wake of his own fines.

Finla Coffee, in Plympton, continued serving customers in November 2020 despite Covid restrictions.

It has now announced its permanent closure after being hit with tens of thousands in lockdown fines and additional court costs.

The cafe's owners, Deanna Yates and Michael Pendlebury, highlighted the hypocrisy of Downing Street staff being fined just £50 for breaching the rules.

The Prime Minister, his wife Carrie Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak are among those set to receive partygate fines from the Metropolitan Police, Number 10 confirmed today (April 12).

Finla's owners were warned they would face jail if they failed to pay their money by May.

They say the had to pay full rent on the property during the past two years - despite being ordered to close during the lockdowns.

The cafe owners said: "It is with a heavy heart to announce that Finla Coffee Limited has ceased trading.

"We want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you! Your support and loyalty has been absolutely amazing and we will miss serving you every day.

"We personally, will continue to fight our case to appeal court whilst Bojo [Prime Minister Boris Johnson] and his pals get a £50 fine and a slap on the wrist. 

"Along with the vendetta against us; fighting for the future of our next generation, the ridiculous rise in everything and big corporate landlords who have charged full rent throughout the past two years, we no longer can continue."

The owners of the cafe have been paying rent on the premises despite it being closed.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Plymouth City Council staff both visited Finla Coffee after its owners decided to keep it open during the national lockdown.

Within weeks charges were brought by Plymouth City Council, which accused the firm of staying open "without reasonable excuse to close premises or part of the premises" on November 6 and 7, 2020.

After a trial at Exeter Magistrates' Court last July - which neither of them attended - Finla Coffee was found guilty and ordered to pay £8,221.

In addition, Pendlebury and Yates were personally charged with being in charge of the firm and ordered to pay £2,002 each towards the court and council investigation costs. 

The judge also fined Finla Coffee, Pendlebury and Yates £10,000 each - £5,000 for each of the two offences - bringing the total to £30,000 in fines.

With costs, it saw the total amount they were ordered to pay hit just over £42,000.

They appealed the case last month at Plymouth Crown Court, where the conviction was upheld but the fines were reduced by half - from £30,000 to a total of £15,000.

The pair still have to cover the legal costs of £12,000 from the original case and £4,000 from the appeal.

A No 10 spokesperson said today: "The prime minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have today received notification that the Metropolitan Police intend to issue them with fixed penalty notices.

"We have no further details, but we will update you again when we do."