Police have raided an ‘absolutely ridiculous’ house party as 30 revellers breached coronavirus restrictions for a birthday bash.
Officers were called to Ormskirk in Lancashire at 2.45am on Sunday to break up the rave allegedly hosted by Edge Hill University students.
Some escaped by climbing out a window but the organiser – a 20-year-old woman – was given a £10,000 fixed penalty notice and nine others were fined £800.
One man – Sam Taiwo, 23, from Sheffield – is due in court in April after he was arrested and later charged for shoving an officer.
It comes as the most ‘outrageous excuses’ for breaking Covid rules have been revealed after one police force dished out more than 190 fines in a week.
Most penalties were given for attending house parties, meeting friends and family indoors or travelling for no good reason.
But two men were fined after they travelled over 50 miles from London to Hove claiming they needed to buy a pair of headphones.
Officers were called to Ormskirk in Lancashire at 2.45am on Sunday to break up the rave allegedly hosted by Edge Hill University students
Some escaped by climbing out a window but the organiser – a 20-year-old woman – was given a £10,000 fixed penalty notice and nine others were fined £800
Police hunt for ‘reckless’ rave host whose unlicensed New Year’s Eve party led to a 500-year-old church being trashed in Essex
Police are trying to identify a ‘reckless’ rave host whose unlicensed New Year’s Eve party saw hundreds of revellers trash a 500-year-old church in Essex.
Members of the conservation group that supports All Saints Church in East Horndon – a Grade II-listed building – said they are ‘devastated’ by the damage caused and estimate repairs could cost more than £1,000.
Organisers of the event set up a bar and DJ decks inside the church and hired Portaloos for partygoers.
Officers had objects thrown at them and were threatened as they dealt with the incident at the disused church – which led to three people being arrested on suspicion of drugs and public order offences.
Organisers of the event set up a bar and DJ decks inside the church (pictured) and hired Portaloos for partygoers
Footage from the Ormskirk raid showed one reveller pleading with an officer he wants to ‘go home’.
The officer replies: ‘Yeah well, you didn’t want to go home two minutes ago. You can wait here for now until we’re ready to deal with you.’
Another complains, ‘it’s not my house’ with the officer responding: ‘We’re in Covid. So you shouldn’t be here.’
Officers are then seen explaining to the organiser – a 20-year-old woman – that the party has breached Covid regulations.
‘It’s not worth £10,000,’ she complains to an officer. ‘It’s not worth £10,000, you’re right,’ he replies.
New rules under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations allow police to issue the increased fine to anybody attending a house party of 15 people or more.
Taiwo, 23, from Sheffield, has since been charged with assaulting a police officer and is due at Preston Magistrates’ Court on April 1.
Lancashire Police Supt Karen Edwards said: ‘This weekend new Coronavirus regulations were introduced, enabling police to issue increased fines to those in attendance at larger house parties.
‘Officers who attended the party in Ormskirk used these powers, and as a result several fixed penalty notices were given out.
‘This party was a blatant breach of the current restrictions, which are in place to prevent the virus from spreading and to keep everybody safe.
‘It is unbelievably selfish for anyone to believe they are exempt when so many law-abiding citizens have not seen their friends and family properly in almost a year.
‘The people in attendance also gave no thought to the safety of the local community or the officers who had to attend to break up the gathering, not to mention the NHS which is under immense strain.
Man charged ‘for posing as a policeman to issue bogus fine to two women’
A man has been charged after allegedly posing as a police officer to issue a bogus fine to two women for breaching Covid-19 regulations.
Martin McCarthy, 29, is said to have approached the elderly victims near to the Stratford Centre, in east London, at around midday on Friday.
He allegedly told them they had breached coronavirus regulations before escorting them to a cashpoint, where he asked for £500.
The Metropolitan Police said the incident was seen by police officers, who arrested the suspect.
McCarthy, from Bow, in east London, appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with impersonating a police officer and blackmail, and was was released on bail ahead of a hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on March 1.
The Metropolitan Police have issued a warning to the public to be on the lookout for coronavirus-related scams.
‘It is also shocking that an officer reported being assaulted while dealing with the aftermath of the event.
‘While we are continuing to spend most of our time dealing with crime and keeping people safe, we must stress that incidents like this take us away from that and take up officers’ valuable time.
‘We have always taken a proportionate approach to breaches of the regulations – educating, explaining and engaging first, with enforcement as a last resort – but when people blatantly break the rules, as with this party, we have to take it seriously and take a firmer approach.
‘As always, we would like to say a huge thankyou to those who are following the law and are doing their bit to keep everybody safe.
‘We all want lockdown to end, and for normality to resume, and we are grateful to the majority who are working with us to make that happen.’
Lanashire Polce said over course of the weekend they received a total of 517 calls about Covid-19 breaches and 181 tickets were issued.
The majority of these incidents were house parties, checks on behalf of the Border Agency and businesses not complying with the regulations.
Three fined after trip to Land’s End see the sea – but fails due to rain and thick fog
Three people who drove 160 miles to Land’s End were fined by police and did not get to see the sea because of pouring rain and thick fog.
Penzance Police revealed they caught the trio at the most south-westerly tip of Britain after they drove from Bridgwater in Somerset.
It is a round trip of six hours – or 320 miles – going back and forth across the entire length of Devon and Cornwall.
Not only did all three get slapped with fines when they arrived, but Land’s End was enveloped in thick fog and rain.
Police said on Facebook: ‘We issued Covid-19 fines recently to three people who drove from Bridgwater to Lands End to see the cliffs in wet and foggy weather conditions.’
An Edge Hill University spokesman added: ‘We are fully co-operating and working closely with the police to establish the details.
‘This is completely unacceptable behaviour and we will be taking appropriate action in line with our disciplinary procedures.
‘We cannot pre-empt the outcome of these investigations or predict any final sanctions that might be imposed, however the University is able to exclude students in the most serious cases.’
Meanwhile Sussex police has had 776 calls in the last week with people making excuses about businesses staying open, household mixing, mask wearing, parties and unnecessary travel.
Two men were fined after they travelled over 50 miles from London to Hove claimed they needed to buy a pair of headphones.
Another woman said she made the one hour and 45 minute journey down from London to Brighton for a photo shoot.
Valid reasons for venturing outdoors are limited to food shopping, exercising, going to work, seeking medical care and attending school or child services.
People have been fined for attending a gathering despite being warned by police last week they were breaking the rules.
A 61-year-old was arrested at the event for refusing to comply with officers and provide his details.
He was fined another £50 after pleading guilty at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on February 2.
Meeting someone outdoors is only permitted if they are a member of your household or support bubble.
Others have been fined for attending a 21st birthday party in Brighton – a clear breach.
Sussex Police has issued 192 fines over the past week, or more than 27 a day. Penalties in England and Northern Ireland start at £100 for first time offenders.
The amount then doubles for each further offence committed up to a maximum of £6,400.
Here are some of the ‘outrageous’ excuses for breaking lockdown:
- Two men who travelled from London to Hove to buy a pair of headphones
- A woman who travelled from London to Brighton for a photo shoot
- People who attended a gathering at Forest Row, despite an earlier warning
- People attending a 21st birthday party in Brighton
- An unofficial football match for more than 20 people in Kent
- A barbers continuing to operate despite lockdown rules
- A man was charged after allegedly posing as a police officer to issue a bogus fine to two women
Superintendent Julia Pope, who is leading the policing operation for the pandemic said: ‘In the last week we have had to issue 192 fixed penalty notices which, considering we have been in a pandemic for almost a year now, is completely unacceptable – and some people are making light of their reasons for being out and about.
‘When you see the shocking videos of people battling Covid, having lost a loved one or NHS colleagues on their knees, I think most people would support this view.
‘The vast majority of the fines we have issued have been for those attending house parties, meeting up with friends and family indoors or travelling without a reasonable excuse.
‘We had to break up a second illegal gathering at a location in Forest Row, despite the group being told last week that they were breaching covid legislation.
‘The gathering plainly does not meet the criteria for a charitable or benevolent exemption within the law.
‘I know all of us are missing seeing friends and family but a gathering of this kind, in the current environment, is not permitted.
‘We acknowledge the frequently changing legislation can sometimes make it difficult for everyone to fully understand what you can and cannot do and this is why our officers will always first engage with people, explaining the rules and regulations and encourage people to change their behaviour accordingly.
‘We urge everyone to take responsibility for their actions and do the right thing by following the legislation and where there are breaches, fines will be issued.’
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