BAR staff and visitors at a restaurant ducked for cover after police caught them flouting coronavirus lockdown rules.

Officers spotted a group of people inside the site in Forest Row last Thursday, as well as a member of staff behind the bar.

But, when the offenders realised they had been seen by police, they ran and attempted to hide from view.

The owners of the restaurant have now been slapped with a fine for the flagrant breach of Covid restrictions.

Current lockdown rules state that it is against the law to "meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble". 

Hospitality venues must remain shut for all services other than takeaway, drive-through or click and collect.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: "We issued a £1,000 fine to a bar and restaurant in Forest Row for operating in breach of Covid-19 regulations.

"Police observed a group people inside the venue on the evening of Thursday (January 14), as well as a member of staff behind the bar.

"On seeing the officers, all those present were seen to run and hide from view.

"Following enquiries, the fine was retrospectively issued to the owner and designated premises supervisor on Monday (January 18)."

Sussex Police are continuing to urge people to follow the national lockdown rules to stop the spread of Covid-19 in England.

Superintendent Julia Pope said: “While the vast majority of people in Sussex are following the government’s Covid-19 regulations, we are unfortunately still seeing a small number of people who are ignoring the restrictions and putting themselves and other people at risk.

“We ask the public to continue doing the right thing by following the government's guidance.

"We will continue to respond effectively and proportionately to those found to be wilfully and obviously breaching the restrictions.

“The rules and restrictions are in place for a reason – to protect the NHS and save lives. We know it’s been an incredibly difficult time, but it’s still so important that we pull together and continue doing what we need to do to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.”