British tourists among 96 foreigners caught breaching lockdown rules at Austrian ski resort

St Anton’s mayor Helmut Mall claimed the new arrivals had attempted to evade the rules by claiming they were looking for work – even though there are no jobs available.

Police, health and local authorities launched an operation to check accommodation in the area on Friday.

They were among 96 foreigners discovered staying at accommodation in the town of St Anton am Arlberg in Tyrol on Friday.

Under current restrictions, hotels are closed to tourists, skiers cannot stay overnight in resorts and visitors must enter quarantine on arrival in the country.

By the end of the day they had checked 44 hotels and reported 96 people for offences under Covid and immigration laws, which carry fines of up to €2,180 (£1,930). Several were ordered to take a Covid test and enter quarantine.

“Among others Britons, Danes, Swedes, Romanians, Germans, Australians, Irish people and Poles were checked and reported,” police said in a statement.

Austria, with a population of under nine million, has so far recorded 413,208 cases and 7,703 deaths in the pandemic.

It entered its third national lockdown on Boxing Day, with non-essential shops closed and strict rules on entering the country.

Daily new cases peaked at more than 9,000 in November but have since dropped to roughly 1,500.

“Circumvention of legal regulations will not be tolerated,” said Siegmund Geiger, the deputy district captain of Landeck.

“With an increase in the pressure of control by the police and authorities, anyone who tries to circumvent the strict legal situation must expect that they will meet the full severity of the law. Violations in this context face severe penalties , since it is not a trivial offense.”

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