Christian bookshop fined for refusing to close during lockdown

The Mustard Seed and Bookshop stayed open in breach of lockdown rules

A Christian bookshop that broke lockdown rules has reportedly received penalties totalling £17,000. 

The Mustard Seed Bookshop in Gedling, Nottingham, remained open after the lockdown came into force, resulting in the arrest of two men over the weekend. 

One of those arrested told the BBC: "I'm not doing this because I'm a rebel. I don't believe what I am doing is unlawful. I'm standing up for what is right and moral."

Authorities intervened after reports of a gathering attended by around 50 people. 

Owner Chris Stala quoted the Magna Carta as her grounds for remaining open.

Nottinghamshire Council told Premier Christian News that it is seeking a court order to enforce the immediate closure of the shop and tearoom. 

Gedling Borough Council leader, Cllr John Clarke, said: "We have tried to work with this business but unfortunately they have continually ignored our warnings and national regulations and persisted to remain open, creating a public health risk and potentially spreading the virus.

"They have left us with no other choice but to use enforcement action against them, seeking support from the courts to secure immediate closure.

"I'd like to thank the majority of other businesses out there who have worked with us and followed the government guidance to keep our communities safe throughout this current lockdown.

"It is vitally important that we all follow national guidance to protect ourselves and others. We will not tolerate flaunting of these rules by any business - flagrantly disregarding the rules puts our communities at risk."

Ms Stala told Premier she wanted the store to remain open as a community hub to support people's mental health and offer food to take away. 

"I feel like I can do none else, a bit like Martin Luther. This is a righteous stand," she said.