Woman arrested for ‘sitting on bench’ denies police claims she ‘staged’ the video
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A woman filmed being arrested for "sitting on a bench" has denied police claims she "stage-managed" the video.
Footage of the 50-year-old's arrest was widely shared on social media at the weekend – but Dorset Police later claimed the video was staged.
She gave her details and was later dearrested and fined, police confirmed.
Marcia Baker, who reportedly became "paranoid" when the pandemic broke out last year, claimed she was not taking part in a protest when she was arrested on Saturday.
She told the Mail Online: "I have been to previous protests but this time I had decided to go into Bournemouth for the day with my elderly father to walk along the beach and pick some seashells.
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"I spent hours in the cells being laughed at and called a conspiracy theorist."
After the video was widely shared over the weekend, police took the unusual step of staying it was "stage-managed".
Dorset Police's Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan said: "We believe this video was planned, stage-managed and recorded by members of the protest group who turned up in multiple areas, several of whom refused to engage and provide their details.
"If people refuse to give their details in such circumstances then it leaves officers with little option but to arrest until the details are established."
Ms Baker has denied staging the video, claiming she did not know the person who filmed it.
People given Fixed Penalty Notices for breaching coronavirus rules face £200 fines, which double with each offence up to a maximum of £6,400.
In a statement her employer, Black Pearl Tattoo Studio, wrote on Facebook : "Due to news articles and videos that have been circulating around, regarding one of our team members getting arrested during lockdown.
"Mickey and the team wish to reassure customers and the public that the views of the individual involved are not by any other team members.
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"We do not agree with it in any way shape or form..The Black Pearl has always maintained a high standard of hygiene and customer care.
"We hope that everyone can understand that we don't appreciate any negative comments regarding this situation towards the studio.
"We have implemented and followed all government guidelines issued in relation to Covid 19."
The statement added: "This has been a difficult time for many and the actions of this person are not condoned by any of us."
On Saturday a small group of protesters held a demonstration against lockdown rules in Bournemouth.
She claimed she was not taking part in a protest when she was arrested on Saturday
Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “Nationally and locally the situation is dire. On Friday alone at least 68,000 people contracted the virus in the UK and tragically 1,325 people died.
“Our NHS colleagues in Dorset are struggling to cope with the demand being placed upon them and are putting themselves at risk every day to protect the lives of others.
"The number of people in Dorset’s hospitals battling coronavirus has doubled since New Year’s Eve and it is anticipated we have not yet reached the peak.
“I fully appreciate the fact that under normal circumstances people have the right to protest under the Human Rights Act. Now is not that time, people are dying.
“Our county is gripped with infections and yet these irresponsible individuals have ignored what is being asked of them and have left their homes to protest. Shame on them.
"I want the people of Dorset to know that there is no clear exemption for people to leave home to protest and it will simply not be tolerated."