MORE than 1,800 fines were issued to parents across Bury who took youngsters out of lessons, according to new figures.

And of these absences, 1,708 were for unauthorised family holidays during term time.

But this total, for the 2018/19 school year, was actually down on the 2,041 tally for the preceding 12 months.

The rate was also easily outstripped by that recorded in neighbouring Bolton, which saw 3,918 penalty notices handed out over the same period.

This was higher than anywhere else in Greater Manchester, outside of the much larger City of Manchester, with Rochdale on 3,687, Oldham on 3,834, Salford on 2,978 and Wigan on just 600.

New figures released by the government show that 1,382 of the penalties in Bury were paid within 28 days - when the fine is £60 - compared to later when the punishment rises to £120.

Just four families were prosecuted for non-payment of the fines after all other enforcement avenues had been exhausted.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it will be compulsory for children to return to school in September this year - and could face fines if they don’t comply.

With holiday companies reporting a huge spike in bookings for later in the year as travel restrictions ease, the figures serve as a warning to anyone thinking of keeping their child off school next term

The figures are revealed as the holiday industry starts to take bookings again.

Thousands of hopeful holidaymakers have rushed to book trips abroad as foreign breaks were given the green light with quarantine measures set to be dropped for some destinations.

The requirement to self-isolate for 14 days upon returning to the UK will be scrapped for many popular destinations, meaning trips to France, Greece and Spain are now options for desperate parents willing to risk a fine.

This has also caused a new surge in people booking holidays with firms like Eurotunnel Le Shuttle who have drafted in new staff to deal with the numbers.

In place of the quarantine arrangements, there will be a traffic light system, with officials placing countries into green, amber and red categories based on the significance of the virus in each place.

The list of quarantine-free countries is due to be published on Wednesday, with restrictions lifted as soon as July 6.