Parents and carers could be slapped with Covid fines if their children flout lockdown laws, a police chief has warned.

Sussex Police chief constable Jo Shiner warned that a £200 fine would be given to those caring for children caught taking part in "persistent and blatant rule-breaking".

She said officers had identified "hotspots" where youngsters were repeatedly meeting, in breach of coronavirus restrictions.

"We see parties in homes and groups meeting in skate parks," chief constable Shiner said in a letter to parents and carers across the county.

"This isn't exclusive to young people, but they can be part of the solution in helping us get control of this infection rate by following the rules."

Chief constable of Sussex Police, Jo Shiner

Chief constable of Sussex Police, Jo Shiner

She added: "There is light at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of the vaccination programme, but lives are still being put at risk by those who are breaching restrictions. Meeting with friends in groups prolongs the lockdown and increases the chance of spreading the virus."

So, in the letter, chief constable Shiner asked parents, "Do you know where your son and daughter spends their time?".

She said that police community support officers were patrolling the flouting "hotspots" to "engage explain and encourage anybody in breach of regulations to adhere to the rules".

"Where these approaches fail, we will use our policing powers to remove that child or young person and return them home," she said.

"In circumstances where we find persistent and blatant rule-breaking, enforcement action will be taken against the parent or carer of that young person (under 18).

"For a first offence this is a £200 fine."

But she did say the force could empathise with the difficulty of the current situation for children, with the pandemic "restricting their lives immeasurably".

The letter read: "We understand that the restrictions on families are hugely challenging and are grateful for all that you are doing to reinforce the message (on the importance of following coronavirus restrictions) with loved ones in order to keep people safe.

"Together, we will recover from this pandemic and the more we adhere to restrictions the sooner that will be."