Preston gym owner is back before the courts after allegedly flouting council closure order imposed just four weeks ago

A businessman who was hit with a compulsory closure on his gym after flouting previous coronavirus interventions was found on the premises, magistrates have heard.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 1:31 pm
Updated Friday, 12th March 2021, 1:34 pm

To help limit the spread of coronavirus, gyms across England have been shut since November 5.

Steven Todd, 55, who runs Reps Gym in Preston, continued defying Government rules - despite being hit with fines, costs, and flouting several council prohibition notices - claiming exercise is important' for people's mental health.

A three month closure order was imposed by the court on February 5, though Todd is in the process of appealing the "lawfulness" of the imposition of the order and argues the council's response was "disproportionate and heavy handed.

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Steven Todd at Reps Gym

The court heard on March 11 police visited the gym, on the Roman Way Industrial Estate on Longridge Road and on their entry numerous people, including the defendant, were present and he was arrested at the scene.

Todd appeared back before Preston Magistrates' Court on Friday morning, where prosecutors told the bench the order was only due to expire on May 4 and that the allegation was he had entered the gym without a reasonable excuse.

Todd pleaded not guilty to contravening the closure order, arguing he had only entered the premises to clean them.

He told the court he had gone to the premises to put rat poison down and to clear up the premises.

He argued the shutters were fully down and told the legal adviser: " If you actually look at the wording you are allowed to enter the premises."

The legal advisor pointed out the order stated a director of the company could only enter " by prior written arrangement" with the council.

Todd replied: "It wasn't worded well, it could have been put so much better than that."

A trial date has been set for July 9 and he has been given unconditional bail until then.

(proceeding)

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