COVID rulebreakers in West Yorkshire have been slapped with more than £100,000 in court fines amid criticism by campaign groups.

Hundreds of people were convicted and fined for breaching coronavirus laws in West Yorkshire last year, figures show.

The financial penalties have been criticised by campaign groups who also say many nationally did not get a fair hearing due to the introduction a fast-track court process.

Ministry of Justice data shows in 2020, there were 247 court prosecutions in the area served by West Yorkshire Police for breaches of restrictions introduced at the beginning of the pandemic.

They resulted in 232 convictions, with most leading to fines.

The largest number of fines – 144 – ranged from £500 to £750 while 34 convictions resulted in fines of between £750 and £1,000.

In total, £135,080 in fines were issued by the courts in West Yorkshire.

Almost all the convictions – 231 –were for breaches of emergency restrictions, while one was for one person who left their home while potentially infected with Covid-19.

The figures detail all prosecution outcomes, so the same defendant could have been listed more than once.

Across England and Wales, of 4,365 prosecutions against people for breaching coronavirus laws, 3,535 (81 per cent) resulted in convictions.

In total, £1.3 million in fines were issued. Not one conviction led to the maximum fine of £10,000.

The MoJ figures also show men were far more likely to be convicted of breaching Covid laws in West Yorkshire last year – in 200 of the 228 convictions where the sex and age were recorded, the defendant was male.

People aged between 21 and 24 accounted for the largest proportion of convictions, while one was a person aged 70 and over.

The figures come amid criticism of the enforcement of coronavirus restrictions, in particular the use of a fast-track system which sees cases dealt with by a legal adviser and a single magistrate out of court.

This process, known as the single justice procedure, is aimed at reducing paperwork and freeing up court time, but in a report, the Joint Committee on Human Rights, MPs and peers said it meant defendants were unable provide any reasonable excuse for why they breached the law.

More than 1,000 defendants were tried for Covid offences using this fast-track process between July and September last year, the committee said.

Campaign groups including Fair Trials and Transform Justice have since sent a letter to the Government calling for the practice to be stopped.

Griff Ferris, legal and policy officer at Fair Trials, a criminal justice watchdog, said: “The single justice procedure is rushed justice, on the cheap, and it is completely inappropriate for assessing charges under confusing lockdown laws.”

A MoJ spokesperson said: "The single justice procedure allows those who plead guilty to low-level, non-imprisonable crimes to resolve their case without going to court."