GREATER Manchester Police (GMP) remains in fourth position out of forces in England and Wales that have handed out the most fines for coronavirus breaches.

Data released by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) shows GMP has issued 5,265 fixed penalty notices (FPN) for Covid-19 breaches.

The fines were dished out between March 27, 2020 and June 20, 2021.

The current GMP figure is only 18 more than the last time the statistics were published (5,247), which covered fines up to May 16.

Only the Metropolitan Police in London (17,628), Merseyside Police (7,365) and Northumbria Police (6,843) have issued more FPNs than GMP.

Across the region, there have been 75 fines handed out for breaking face coverings rules, 68 for breaching international travel regulations and 51 for business breaches.

A total of 20 FPNs have been given to people for holding large gatherings.

The NPCC said 117,213 FPNs have now been issued with 2,010 given out in the latest reporting period.

The significant drop in the number of fines handed out reflects the easing of restrictions on May 17, when hospitality businesses were allowed to serve customers indoors and gatherings up to 30 people outside were allowed.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt, said: “Once again, the number of fines processed in the latest reporting period has fallen considerably, as we continue to make good progress and edge closer to the end of lockdown.

“Despite the slight easing of the rules relating to some activities, such as weddings, commemorative events and care home visits, we mustn’t forget that there are still some restrictions in place.

“Our officers will continue to carry out patrols and will engage with the public to keep explaining the restrictions which remain in place.”

In England and Wales more than 3,900 fines (adding up to £800 each) have been given to people for holding gatherings for more than 15 people.

A total of 3,765 FPNs were processed between June 15 and 20 for breaches of face coverings regulations in England, the NPCC said.

Out of them, 635 were for failing to wear a covering on public transport and the remaining 130 were for not wearing them in a relevant place such as a shop.