A MARRIED fire chief who broke lockdown to visit his ex-secretary’s home could face a police fine after bosses shopped him.
Mark Andrews, 49, regularly drove 20 miles to see 34-year-old Anna Colwell despite her no longer working for him.
Mark Andrews could face a police fine after he was shopped for breaking lockdown to visit his ex-secretaryCredit: westsussex.gov.uk
He visited his former secretary Anna Colwell during lockdownCredit: Twitter
The £105,000-a-year Deputy Chief Officer at West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is now being probed by his bosses for breaking Covid rules.
His bosses have now passed the case to Sussex Police and he could face a £200 fine.
A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “A disciplinary investigation into the allegations reported in the media is taking place and the information we have received has been passed to the police.
“The person concerned remains in post and will continue to carry out their duties.”
Ms Colwell’s employers, East Sussex Fire Service, confirmed they had reported a worker to police for an “alleged breach of Covid 19 regulations”.
A spokesman said: “We make it very clear to all staff that they are expected to follow Covid 19 regulations and guidance to keep our community safe.
“Any reports of Covid 19 breaches are investigated and appropriate action taken. This includes considering disciplinary action.”
The pair reportedly met on two successive days at her marital home in Worthing, West Sussex, last week.
They also took a drive in her white Mini without face masks after the dad-of-two left his £1.5million home with wife Judy, 58.
When asked if he had broken lockdown rules, the fire chief said: “She is a work colleague so clearly I had some work to do. But… in a way that didn’t compromise myself.
He added: “I have to face the consequences frankly. But anything I say will be incriminating and difficult so I just need to absorb what you are saying to me. ‘
Mr Andrews and Ms Colwell met while working at East Sussex Fire services headquarters.
She is understood to be separated from her husband.
At the time, she was with East Sussex Police, which shares its headquarters with the fire service.
She was interviewed by Mr Andrews for his assistant role last April but he left to re-join West Sussex Fire Service, where he began his career, in August.
The married chief, who has grown up twins, was said to have visited Ms Colwell’s home last Tuesday for four hours.
He returned the next day and let himself in by a side entrance with a takeaway later delivered.
The website reports Mr Andrews at first claimed his former secretary was a “work colleague” and they had work to do together.
When told she now works for a different fire service, he added: “That is right”.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service launched an investigation.
A spokesmsan said: “We wouldn’t comment on the details of a staff member’s personal life.
“We have clear guidance in place, in line with national guidance, for all our staff in order to keep our workplaces safe for all.
“All staff are expected to follow COVID-19 regulations and any reports of a breach of that would be investigated on a case by case basis.”
Mr Andrews has called for people not to breach Covid rules during the pandemic.
On New Year’s Eve he retweeted a message from his Fire Service which said: “It’s really important we all do our bit to stop #COVID19 spreading. Please follow the latest guidelines and stay safe this New Year’s Eve by celebrating at home.”
But a source fears his flouting the rules could “lead members of the public to ease up”.
They told MailOnline: “It is disappointing, in fact it is hypocritical, for him to be breaking social distancing rules at a time when the Fire services are telling everybody to be safe by adhering to Government restrictions.
“The picture of him next to his former assistant in a car and with neither wearing a mask during the lockdown will not help promote safety during this pandemic.”
Ms Colwell did not wish to comment when approached by the website.
Mr Andrews is married with twins
He has been branded a ‘hypocrite’ for flouting restrictions