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Woman, 50, who ‘staged’ arrest ‘for sitting on bench’ is conspiracy theorist who claims Covid ‘no worse than sniffles’

A WOMAN who “staged” being arrested “for sitting on a bench” has been exposed as a coronavirus conspiracy theorist who claims the virus is “no worse than the sniffles.”

Marcia Baker, 52 who was videoed being arrested in a Bournemouth park on Saturday, is a member of anti-lockdown groups.

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The mum-of-two had attended an anti-lockdown protest prior to her arrest
Marcia was placed in handcuffs for “sitting on a bench” – but it was staged, according to police

The footage shows the tattoo artist being handcuffed and led away by officers as she repeatedly tells them “I was sitting on a bench.”

But Dorset Police said the video was “staged-managed” by anti-lockdown protesters.

Now it has been revealed that the mum-of-two had attended an anti-lockdown protest in Bournemouth on Saturday, prior to her arrest.


A friend of Marcia told MailOnline: “She’s been into all kinds of conspiracy theories for quite a while but just became more paranoid when the pandemic started last year.

“She was going around telling everyone that coronavirus was no worse than getting the sniffles and that it was an attempt to control us all.

“I couldn’t take it anymore and had to stop speaking to her.

“She doesn’t believe the virus exists, it’s absolutely insane the stuff she comes out with.

“If there’s a demonstration against the lockdown, Marcia is there. 

“Her views are very reckless but there’s no debating with her because she’s convinced that Covid is one big conspiracy.”

Marcia is a tattoo artist in Bournemouth
The footage shows her being handcuffed and led away by officers


Police said they believed the clip was “planned, stage-managed and recorded” by members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were present in the town on Saturday.

The force said three people were arrested following the demonstrations, after refusing to give their details to officers who attempted to issue them with fines for breaching coronavirus regulations.

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.

“Our officers would only arrest as a last resort.”

Two of those detained were later “de-arrested” after supplying officers with their details and were subsequently fined, police said.

A third person was also released and fined after their details were verified in custody.

It comes amid warnings from experts that current lockdown restrictions are “too lax” – and could fail to bring down the rate of infection if Brits ignore “stay at home” orders.

A Home Office source told the Sunday Telegraph that officers would fine rule-breakers more quickly, warning: “We are going to see more rapid movement to enforcement. 

“Over 1,000 people died yesterday. It is important that everyone sticks to the rules.”

Officers also approached another woman and a man on the same seafront in the staged video
London News Pictures
Police patrol Hyde Park as cops warned a tougher stance would be taken on those breaking lockdown[/caption]
Police patrol the seafront at Bournemouth Beach in Dorset[/caption]

The new guidance from the National Police Chiefs’ Council, issued to forces on January 6, reads: “Officers should continue to engage members of the public and explain changes.

“If necessary they should offer encouragement to comply.

“However if the individual or group does not respond appropriately, then enforcement can follow without repeated attempts to encourage people to comply with the law.”

The guidance adds that officers should continue to police “by consent”, and the “initial police response should be to encourage voluntary compliance”. 

Previous NPCC guidance did not specify how many attempts officers should make to encourage voluntary compliance when dealing with the public.


Anyone caught by cops without a reasonable excuse could be slapped with a £200 fixed penalty notice for their first offence, with this doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

Those holding, or involved in holding, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people risk a police-issued fine of £10,000.

Brits must wear a mask in all indoor public spaces such as shops and supermarkets or face a £200 fine – though exemptions apply to children under 11 and those with certain medical conditions.

Home Secretary Priti Patel last night defended cops amid concern over tougher enforcement after two women claimed they were surrounded and fined £200 each for driving five miles to walk in a park. 

Derbyshire Police sparked outrage by fining Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore for walking near Foremark Reservoir.

But Ms Patel said: “Enforcing these rules saves lives. It is as simple as that.

“Officers will continue to engage with the public across the country and will not hesitate to take action when necessary.”

The crackdown comes amid fears that public compliance with restrictions is lower than the first lockdown in March last year, which successfully reduced the rate of infection. 

Boris Johnson pleaded with Brits to stay at home after the UK passed the grim milestone of 80,000 fatalities on Saturday – with cases continuing to surge.


According to the Telegraph, ministers are hesitant to impose further restrictions but hope that tougher enforcement combined with a ‘Stay At Home’ advertising blitz, fronted by Professor Chris Whitty, will keep Brits indoors. 

Meanwhile, Susan Michie, professor of health psychology at University College London, said the current lockdown was “too lax” to stop the bug from spreading.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) member told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “It is definitely too lax, because if you think about it and compare ourselves with March, what do we have now?

“We have the winter season and the virus survives longer in the cold, plus people spend more time indoors and we know aerosol transmission, which happens indoors, is a very big source of transmission for this virus.

“And secondly we have this new variant which is 50-70% more infectious.

“You put those two things together, alongside the NHS being in crisis, we should have a stricter rather than less strict lockdown than we had back in March.”

What you could be fined for

You could face a fine for:

  • Being out of your home without a reasonable excuse as below
  • Travelling abroad or going on holiday during the lockdown period – as this is not a reasonable excuse
  • Breaking Covid rules by having others outside your household inside your home
  • Meeting people outside your household outside – unless it’s one person for exercise alone
  • Hosting a gathering – this could see you get a fine of up to £10,000
  • Businesses or venues can be fined up to £10,000 too for continuing to operate despite being ordered to shut
  • Not wearing a face covering on public transport or in shops

Reasonable excuses for leaving your home include:

  • Work: If you have to go to work as you really can’t work from home, this will be allowed. Key workers such as those who work for the police, or NHS, will be permitted to do so
  • School: only for the kids of key workers or vulnerable pupils
  • Exercise: Boris will continue to allow unlimited exercise outdoors. That means people can carry on going for walks, runs and other forms of exercise outdoors if they wish. You can do that with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household
  • Food, drink & supplies: People will still be allowed out to collect food and drink – such as at the supermarket, or take-aways
  • Medical appointments: Everyone will be urged to continue to attend hospital and doctor appointments if they need to
  • To escape injury or harm; those at risk of harm are allowed to leave their current home and move elsewhere
  • To provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer: people will still be allowed to travel to care for people who need it, or attend volunteer work too

Read also

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Storm Christoph snow and floods threaten to close Covid jab centres and derail UK’s record-breaking vaccination blitz

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