A man who travelled from Southampton to North Wales to photograph planets from Snowdon during the coronavirus pandemic has been fined by magistrates.
Filip Petrik, 31, drove with a friend from Southampton to Betws-y-Coed but was arrested by police for flouting the movement restrictions and for being drunk and disorderly.
Llandudno Magistrates ordered him to pay a total of £745 in fines and costs.
Prosecutor Julia Galston said the incident happened on December 21 last year when all parts of Wales were under Covid-19 regulations in a Tier 4 lockdown.
She said North Wales Police officers were called to a layby on the A470 near Betws-y-Coed on that Monday at 10.11pm.
There had been a report of two men lying on the floor.
The prosecutor said the police arrived at 10.30pm and one officer approached Petrik.
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He noticed the defendant was slurring his speech and was unsteady.
She said Petrik tried to remove the officer’s facemask despite being told not to.
The prosecutor said the defendant said: “Do you want to suck my d***?”
She added: “His trousers were around his ankles and he was walking around in his underpants. He totally ignored any instructions.”
Mrs Galston said officers arrested Petrik for being drunk and disorderly and for breaching Covid-19 rules.
They took him to a police station in St Asaph.
The court heard that, when interviewed the following day, Petrik, of Paynes Road, Southampton, said he had come to North Wales on Saturday, December 19, arriving at 9pm, to go camping and to do some photography.
He said he did not know which tier Southampton was in and had been unaware that he couldn’t travel into North Wales.
Once he found out, the day before the offences, he planned to return home to Hampshire the following day.
Solicitor Jamie Gammon defended Petrik and both appeared together by video link to Llandudno Magistrates Court.
Mr Gammon said his client, who is a self-employed second hand car salesman, had been on a photography trip.
He said: “My client tells me he was not aware on entering Wales that there had been a lockdown and he had gone there for some photography on Snowdon.
“He had heard there was a configuration of planets and there would be a good view from Snowdon.”
The solicitor accepted it was clear Petrik had had a lot to drink and exhibited “bizarre” behaviour in the layby.
But Mr Gammon insisted Petrik is “seriously embarrassed” and regrets his actions.
His client has not had stable accommodation and has been living in a campervan.
He added:”If fault lies, it lies with him for not checking the circumstances (of the rules) and for being intoxicated. It was disgraceful behaviour. (But) he has been adventurous enough to instruct my firm immediately.”
Petrik, of Paynes Road, Southampton, pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly and to breaching coronavirus lockdown regulations.
Chairman of the bench Hilary Owen fined Petrik £100 for being drunk and disorderly and £500 for the breach of coronavirus regulations.
She also condemned his behaviour.
She said: “Your actions on December 21, 2020 were negligent and reckless at the very least.
“You breached the coronavirus regulations that had been put in place to protect people.
“Your behaviour potentially put the local population at significant risk and cannot be tolerated.”
The magistrates also ordered Petrik to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
-- to www.dailypost.co.uk