BRITAIN'S most senior police officer has warned coronavirus rule-breakers they are “increasingly likely” to face fines as forces move “more quickly” to enforce lockdown restrictions.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said it is “preposterous” that anyone could be unaware of the need to follow the stringent measures designed to curb Covid-19 cases.

Writing in The Times, she said: “It is preposterous to me that anyone could be unaware of our duty to do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.

“We have been clear that those who breach Covid-19 legislation are increasingly likely to face fines.”

More than 700 fines have been handed out by Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire's force, West Mercia Police, for breaches of Covid-19 laws in the area since they came into force, figures show.

Data published by the National Police Chiefs Council shows a total of 748 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) were issued by West Mercia Police between March 27 and December 20.

Of these, 240 were issued for breaches of coronavirus laws brought in during the first few months of the pandemic, 61 were linked to the tiered alert system introduced in October, and 198 to the national lockdown which began in November.