Cops 'guarding London gym in 24-hour shifts and threaten to seize keys' after owner vowed to stay open through lockdown
POLICE are said to have been staking out a North London gym since last night after it refused to shut its doors.
The owner of Zone Gym in Wood Green, Andreas Michli had refused to put down the weights despite the country-wide lockdown – but conceded to the cops' demands last night as the gym emptied out.
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More than 30 officers were deployed to the premises Tuesday night to stop his patrons from working out while another group of PCs arrived at 8.30am yesterday morning, reports the Daily Mail.
Speaking to The Sun Online, owner Andreas said: "I find it absurd."
He added: "Since yesterday there has been a 24-hour shift operation with police guarding the gate.
"I decided yesterday to shut it down as there was no one using the gym as it was a bit pointless."
The gym boss said he was feeling "a little bit stressed" after council chiefs threatened him with a prohibition notice and said they could take away the keys.
Andreas, along with supporters have now gathered at Highbury Courthouse to dispute the notice.
It comes after a council spokesperson yesterday said they could be faced with "no choice but to work alongside the police to issue a closure notice" if the gym refused to close.
However, Mr Michli said the police are "part of the community," and had been "great" issuing no fines – but added council higher ups had been slapping the fitness buffs with daily fines.
Member Dena Domingues said the gym had been handed a £10,000 fine after it stayed open every day of the November lockdown.
Members have set up a Gofundme page to help with the costs of the lockdown-flouting firm.
Members gathered this morning in the gym's car park as Council chiefs turned up and allegedly threatened to take away the keys.
Dena told The Sun Online: "People use this gym to help battle mental health issues," and autistic members used the gym to improve their social skills.
She said people from all over the country had gathered to show support, with some even flying in from abroad.
Taking to social media last night, Mr Michli blasted the cops' presence as a "waste of police resources".
He said: "Guess what, we're still open. And guess what, they're back again wasting police resources, sitting there outside the door".
He encouraged members to come down and use the gym, despite rules introduced at the start of this month issuing the closure of all non-essential businesses.
Zone Gym had stayed open every day of the nation-wide lockdown, only shutting its doors last night.
And taking to Instagram today, the gym owner shared a video showing scores of officers stood in the gym's car park.
'WASTE OF POLICE RESOURCES'
Grinning at the camera he said: "We here, we're all in the car park. Everyone come to show support out here, come on."
He then pans the camera around showing several coat-clad members whooping and waving their hands in the air.
Gym-goer Dena Domingues posted a story to her Instagram account saying council officials would be coming to the gym to "shut us down" and encouraged members to gather outside the premises this morning.
The personal trainer posted footage of the turnout earlier today, panning round the car park to show police and members of Zone Gym.
She said: "We are here, for all of you members that are not here, I am so disappointed. But here are the people that came to represent.
"[I've] seen you line up, 6 am out here coming to train, but where are you now?"
Andreas is disputing a prohibition notice from Haringey Council today.
Both the Metropolitan Police and Haringey Council have been contacted for comment.
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