11:20AM, Thursday 21 January 2021
A Marlow gym owner is pleading for people to think before they call the police after being visited by officers several times over concerns the business is open.
Paul Busby says that this is not the case, and that he and a few members of staff are at Genesis Gym to teach virtual classes and need the lights on to do this.
He says he does not want any more police time to be wasted after officers visited his martial arts gym, in Fieldhouse Lane, four times this month.
Paul added that some of the visits have been ‘ad-hoc’ – with officers patrolling the area anyway – but one visit occurred after people phoned the police thinking the gym was operating as normal and breaking COVID-19 guidelines.
As well as teaching people virtually – which Paul says he has to do at the gym because of space issues at home – staff are also teaching people one-to-one and socially distanced outside, which is within the lockdown guidelines.
He says that his business has followed COVID-19 rules ‘to the letter’ and wants people to think twice before assuming a firm is doing wrong.
He added staff members may need to visit their place of work to carry out tasks – such as stock checks – which can’t be done at home.
“We have followed every bit of advice absolutely to the letter. There is no way on this earth we have missed a thing, we are so wise,” Paul said.
“This is really frustrating. We have to have the lights on, and the police just keep coming by and knocking on the door.
“I can’t run [classes] at home, I have got a one-year-old. I am really keen not to keep wasting police time.”
Paul said he understands people are ‘frightened’ and claimed that he ‘minimises’ time spent at the gym, but he urged neighbours to ‘assess’ the situation before calling the police - who he praised for simply performing their duties to keep people safe.
“I am not angry with these people, everyone is stressed to the highest level – but it is just time to assess, breathe, slow down,” he said.
“We are not the only gym that has suffered with this. I am really keen for the public to understand that a lot of these businesses aren’t doing anything wrong.”
Paul added that his gym is a small, family-owned one which is being ‘hammered’ by the pandemic.
“We have not been able to do our contact sport for nearly a year now. It has been a real struggle; a lot of coaches won’t have been able to make it through this,” he said.
When contacted by the Advertiser, Thames Valley Police said it was called to the gym at about 5.50pm on January 12.
“Officers attended the scene, where it was established that no breaches of COVID-19 legislation had taken place,” a statement from the force added.
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