THE owners of a card and book shop who refused to close during lockdown say they are still "standing firm" and will not pay nearly £44,000 owed to the courts after losing their court case in the summer.

Alasdair Walker-Cox, proprietor of Grace Cards and Books, has told this paper that him and co-owner wife, Lydia, were still trying to appeal after the courts found they had breached the rules during the second lockdown in November last year and on two occasions in February and March in lockdown this year.

Mr Walker-Cox was ordered to pay a £35,000 fine, £8,986.67 in court costs and a £190 victim surcharge after losing the Kidderminster Magistrates Court case in August when they were found guilty of four breaches of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions).

Mr Walker-Cox said: "We haven't paid - it is absolutely ridiculous £44,000.

"We appealed some time ago, we know there is a process and these things take time, but we don't have a date (for the appeal)."

Speaking to the BBC Lydia Walker-Cox was asked if they could afford to pay the money, replying: "No, the business doesn't make that much money."

Asked if they still thought it was the right decision to have opened in lockdown, she answered: "Absolutely, for definite yes.

"We have got a family to feed, bills to pay and we have had a business here for 31 years.

"If we had been closed (during lockdown periods) those customers of ours would have found other places to go to."

In a viral youtube video West Mercia Police and Wychavon District Council officers were seen telling the owners the Droitwich shop must close under the law as it is not essential.

After the trial Phil Merrick, director of economy and environment at Wychavon District Council, said: “We are satisfied with the outcome, however, it is unfortunate that we have had to take this level of action against Grace Cards and Books.

"We offered the shop help and support during the lockdowns, but they refused to take it. The law is the law and we have had to treat all businesses equally.”