Thames Valley Police (TVP) has issued the second highest number of coronavirus lockdown penalties in England, new statistics show.

Only Lancashire Police handed out more fines to people who flouted Covid-19 lockdown rules.

From the start of lockdown until April 13, police officers in the Thames Valley area handed out 219 Fixed Penalty Notices.

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More than 3,200 fines have been issued across England, including those handed out by the British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence police.

The chief constable of the force, John Campbell, said most of the fines had been given to groups of people hanging out in public places or driving in a car together.

Mr Campbell said: “We have also made a number of arrests which have led to people being jailed for breaching coronavirus restrictions or coughing at officers or members of the public.

“Some of these breaches have been identified by patrol officers but a significant number have been reported by the public.

“In particular this Easter weekend, as with many forces, we had a significant increase in these types of calls.”

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The TVP area, which includes major towns and cities such as Reading, Oxford, Slough and Milton Keynes, has the fifth biggest population size in England, according to statistics company Statista.

Lancashire has a much smaller population and yet ranks top with 380 fines, while the London Met has the largest population and only handed out 81 fines.

This suggests the high figures in the Thames Valley are not simply due to the large population.

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The numbers were revealed by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) last week.

The NPCC say data should not be compared between forces, due to differences in processing and force context which can be explained by home forces.

Across England and Wales, 82per cent of fines have been handed out to men, and 15per cent to women, with three per cent unknown.

Two-thirds of penalties were handed out to those aged 18-34.