Snoopers’ hotline could be set up to report neighbours flouting rules

A snoopers’ hotline may be set up to encourage ­people to report neighbours who flout quarantine rules.

Ministers want the public to act as spies and contact police – who backed the idea at the start of lockdown.

The proposals were discussed by Cabinet ministers this week and ­sources say they are exploring the ­possibility of whether it could work.

PM Boris Johnson is also drawing up tough new plans to crack down on ­people who flout quarantine restrictions.

An official study recently claimed that one in five Covid patients ­routinely ignore self-isolation rules.

Police have the power to issue fines of up to £1,000 for quarantine breaches, but just 34 people have been ­penalised so far.

The Government’s new quarantine restrictions on travellers from Portugal, Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion came into force at 4am today.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps ­removed the countries from its quarantine exemption list – meaning new arrivals coming into England from those countries must self-isolate for 14 days.

It comes as a Government-led study revealed that ­coronavirus infections are doubling every week and the crucial ‘R’ reproduction rate could be as high as 1.7.

The new ‘rule of six’ – making gatherings of groups of seven or more people illegal – comes into force tomorrow in a bid to stop the rise in Covid cases.

  • Brits flock to pubs and bars for 'last weekend of freedom' before 'Rule of Six'

But Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove yesterday urged people to act sensibly this ­weekend ahead of the new law, and said the ­limits on group gatherings had been put in place to avoid a second lockdown.

He added: “If people do behave in a way that is not really in line or in tune with the guidelines that have been put out then they are putting other people at risk.”

The Prime Minister also announced this week that the Government was planning to recruit ‘Covid marshals’ to enforce social distancing.

He unveiled the plans for a “Dad’s Army” of uniformed busybodies, who will even be able to tell people which way to walk down the street. Marshals cannot dish out penalties but they will be able to call police to fine or arrest anyone who refuses.

Officers were told they could hand out fines of up to £100 to those who do not comply with the new government rules. This will double on each repeat ­offence up to £3,200.

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