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Notting Hill fish shop staff ‘given Covid-19 fines after told to attend work meeting’

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taff at a popular Notting Hill fish shop were given Covid-19 fines for breaking lockdown after they were told to attend a “work meeting” at their boss’s home, a court heard.

Police were called out in January last year after reports of a “gathering” taking place in the living room of entrepreneur Chris D’Sylva’s basement flat in Stanley Gardens, Notting Hill.

Nine members of staff from the Notting Hill Fish + Meat Shop were in the midst of a “business meeting”, Westminster magistrates court heard, and were issued with fines for breaking the government’s Covid-19 rules.

The Met Police approach to the incident could shed light on the force’s handling of Partygate scandal, where Downing Street staff face possible fines for attending gatherings in their place of work.

One of the incidents under investigation is an alleged gathering in Boris Johnson’s private flat at Number 10, with unnamed sources suggesting that the Prime Minister may escape censure because he was working at the time.

Mr Johnson, who has been questioned under caution by police in the form of a written questionnaire, previously defended his presence at a Downing Street garden party, saying: “When I went out into that garden I thought that I was attending a work event.”

Details of the Notting Hill fish shop incident came to light after one of the staff, Anya Braimer Jones, was prosecuted for not paying the £200 fine, and claimed she had been “forced” to attend the meeting in spite of lockdown rules.

“My former boss, Chris D’Sylva of Notting Hill + Meat Shop, summoned me to attend a work meeting on January 27, 2021,” she said in a letter to magistrates.

“I was frightened that I’d be fired from my job if I didn’t comply. I accept fully that I was present at that meeting, along with eight colleagues; all of whom had also been told they had to attend. I am deeply sorry.”

Jones, 26, said she has since quit the company and is taking her former employer to an employment tribunal, adding: “Mr D’Sylva is the type of boss that expects you to comply with all such instructions without argument.

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