Covid-19: Man admits damaging Tesco covers during lockdown

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Gwilym Owen pulling covers off clothesImage source, Gwilym Owen
Image caption,
Gwilym Owen has been given 250 hours of unpaid work and order to pay a total of £380 in costs

A man who pulled plastic sheets off clothes in a supermarket during Wales' "firebreak" lockdown has been told to compensate Tesco over his protest.

Gwilym Owen was filmed pulling off the sheeting in Bangor on the first day of Wales' 17-day autumn lockdown.

Supermarkets had been told they were not allowed to sell "non-essential" items during the firebreak period.

Owen, of Holyhead Road in Gaerwen, Anglesey, pleaded guilty to damaging the sheeting and disorderly behaviour.

He was sentenced at at Caernarfon Magistrates' Court to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £200 to Tesco in compensation and £180 in costs.

Footage of Owen damaging the sheeting went viral after he uploaded it to Facebook.

Image source, Gwilym Owen
Image caption,
Owen uploaded the footage to his Facebook page

Gilly Harradence, defending, told the court Owen had not entered the store with the intention of causing trouble.

"He just wanted to highlight the unfairness and illogicality of the regulations," she said.

Magistrates' chairman Alastair Langdon said Owen entered the shop to "maliciously" disrupt the running of the business and had used "very nasty and abusive language".

"You had no regard to the safety and welfare of staff or customers at the store," he said.

"Your actions must have been frightening and worrying to a number of people in the immediate vicinity."

The Welsh Government banned the sale of non-essential items, such as clothes, during Wales' 17-day firebreak lockdown which ran between 23 October and 9 November.

More than 60,000 people signed a Senedd/Welsh Parliament petition calling for the ban to be reversed, the largest ever submitted.