Gym open for kids is reported as police turn up at owner’s door

The owner of a Wirral gym had the police at his premises after an alleged report he was open illegally.

Officers visited the Thai boxing club in Birkenhead last night after a member of the public reported it was operating illegally under tough new "Tier Three" Covid restrictions now in force.

Police first went to the ThaiFist Muay Thai club, at Price Street Business Centre, at around 12 noon yesterday, but when they found it closed they returned at around 7pm.

New rules in the Liverpool City Region, which is at covid alert level high, means adults cannot attend leisure or gym facilities, however fitness classes for youths are allowed to continue.

Zilch - No Credit Check Finance

A video posted by the gym owner, Jacob Smith, showed police turning up just as he was locking up after holding a junior class.

However, he tells police there is no-one inside and refuses to allow them over the threshold because he doesn't want to get their shoes on his carpet.

Jacob told the ECHO that – before the new Covid restrictions came into force – he would normally have been holding an adult sparring session from around 6.45pm.

He said: "It was like police expected me to have a load of adults in there. My juniors are still allowed to go ahead and I can stay open legit as long as I'm sticking to the guidelines.

wirral airport transfers mersesysideairportservice.co.uk

"I'm not after any confrontation. I will abide by all Covid rules and guidelines and I have the measures in place to remain open.

"I won't be forced to shut down my club because of pressure. For now we are staying open for juniors.

"I'm doing what I can to keep the kids off the streets during all this madness. I'm doing more good by giving them an outlet.

"If I do close it will be because it's not financially viable. This is a small business that barely turns over a profit."

Keep up to date with what's happening in your area by adding your postcode below

Jacob, 28, who is the UK's leading professional Thai boxer, started the Birkenhead gym around three years ago.

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: "We can confirm officers attended premises in Birkenhead after a report it was open after the introduction of legislation prohibiting gyms from opening in the Liverpool City Region.

Jacob Smith, 28, who runs the gym, is the UK's leading professional Thai boxer

"Officers were called to Thai Fist, at Price Street Business Centre at around midday on Thursday to a report the gym's opening may have been in contravention of current coronavirus legislation.

"Officers visited the premises and spoke with the owner, and it was established the gym had been legitimately open for a martial arts class for children.

"We will continue to monitor leisure facilities to ensure compliance with coronavirus legislation, encourage businesses to adhere and take action where necessary."

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what's on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here.

PUBLISH YOUR ARTICLE ON NEWSWIRRAL.CO.UK