Offenders taken to court for breaching coronavirus lockdown regulations have seen the charges dropped in West Cumbria.

Despite 770 fines being issued by Cumbria police during lockdown, offenders who were brought to the magistrates’ court in Workington charged with breaching lockdown, as well as other offences, have seen the coronavirus charge dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Since the court reopened in June, seven people have seen the charge for the lockdown breach dropped.

A spokesman for the CPS said: “In cases where the defendant has been charged with committing a breach of the Coronavirus Regulations at the same time as other offences there is specific legal guidance that prosecutors should apply, which states that where the breach of the regulations is not likely to attract a separate penalty, no additional offence (for breaching the regulations) should be charged.”

In the seven cases, which were brought to court between June 29 and July 13, the behaviour in breach of the regulations has been referred to as an aggravating feature, or referred to in the case summary before the court.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC0 said the cases related to enforcement occurred in the first weeks of the new regulations being introduced.

A spokesman for the NPCC said: “These new regulations were brought in at speed at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic and the cases reviewed relate to enforcement which occurred in the first weeks of their introduction.

“Since then officers have received additional guidance on the legislation and we continue to provide them with advice to support them in their roles and reduce errors in the application of the regulations.

“Our approach to engage, explain and encourage continues to be our primary focus. This has been successful and the vast majority of people are abiding by the rules. Enforcement is the last option and only happens when someone is unwilling to follow the regulations and do the right thing.”

Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said anyone unwilling to follow regulations should be held to account.

She said: “Our behaviour is the only tool in the toolbox to fight this disease until treatment or a vaccine is available.

“Cumbria constabulary’s approach to engage, explain and encourage has been successful and most people are abiding by the guidance. Measures are in place to ultimately try and stop the spread of the virus. If someone is unwilling to follow the regulations, they should be held to account as they are putting not just themselves but others at risk.”

Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington, Peter McCall, police and crime commissioner and Cumbria police declined to comment.