A teenager has been fined £10,000 after hosting 50 people at his home – as a senior police figure warned the public against having a “party weekend” before stricter coronavirus restrictions come into force.
Nottinghamshire Police said it had issued the hefty fine to a “reckless” 19-year-old man who staged the house party at his home in Lenton on Friday evening.
Forces have the power to fine people £10,000 for organising illegal gatherings of more than 30 people, with stricter rules banning groups of more than six people set to introduced from Monday.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper said the party was a “clear example of a householder who deliberately flouted the rules without a care for anyone else”.
He added: “I want to send out a clear message to anyone who is thinking of deliberately hosting parties tonight or tomorrow night ahead of the rules changing to please not do this.
“As we have demonstrated here we are not afraid to use the full powers we have and we will not tolerate those who are deliberately put other people’s lives in danger.”
Nottinghamshire Police said it was called to the party after the organiser was hostile towards community protection officers who had initially attended the property.
About 50 people who were at the party were ordered to leave and the organiser was issued with the £10,000 fine, the force added.
He will appear in court if he fails to pay or contests the penalty.
Greater Manchester Police said on Friday it issued fixed penalty notices after around 100 people attended a wedding party in Bolton, where stricter local lockdown restrictions were brought in earlier this week.
Officers in Manchester also broke up a house party of 30 people in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, Hertfordshire Police said a 50-year-old woman has been arrested after 300 people attended a silent disco at an industrial estate in Bishop’s Stortford.
The woman is being held on suspicion of money laundering and licensing offences following the event over the August bank holiday weekend.
Social gatherings of more than six people will be banned across England, Wales and Scotland from Monday as ministers try to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.
Government figures revealed another 3,497 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK – a 36% increase on last Saturday.
A further nine people have died within 28 days of returning a positive test – all of them in England – bringing the total number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the UK to 41,623.
How ‘rule of six’ COVID-19 restrictions will work around the UK
The government has faced criticism, however, as the new “rule of six” restrictions apply to all ages in England but children under the age of 12 do not count towards the limit in Scotland and Wales.
Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove insisted the new rule was clear and denied it was potentially confusing.
He told Sky News: “I do recognise that there are lots of questions out there. I think is a pretty straightforward message. It’s well understood and commands public confidence.
“But when it comes to socialising… then there needs to be an element of self-discipline.”
The chairman of the Police Federation warned the public against having a “party weekend” before the new restrictions on social gatherings come into force.
John Apter said: “There is a real risk some members of the public will take advantage of the current situation and treat this weekend as a party weekend ahead of the tighter restrictions being introduced on Monday.
“Alcohol and warm weather are not a good combination at the best of times. Using the current situation as an opportunity and excuse to party would be incredibly irresponsible and put pressure not only on policing, but potentially on the ambulance service and NHS.
“We are in the grip of a deadly pandemic and we have seen cases increasing over recent weeks. Policing is under pressure like never before, but my colleagues will give enforcement notices if they feel it’s appropriate, and we make no apology for doing so.”