A ‘reckless’ teenager has been slapped with a £10,000 fine for hosting a house party with more than 50 people.
Police issued the fine to a 19-year-old who organised the house party in Lenton, Nottinghamshire, amid rising cases of coronavirus.
It comes as police warn the public against having a ‘party weekend’ prior to Monday’s (Sept 14) social gathering ban, where only six people will be allowed to meet at any one time.
According to Notthinghamshire police, the teen allowed more than 50 people to attend the party at his home Harlaxton Drive on Friday, September 11.
Nottinghamshire officers said they are prepared to use the “full weight of the law” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in city, reports NottinghamLive.
Residents described how groups of up to five arrived in taxis and by foot to a house party in Harlaxton Drive that began at around 7pm.
Despite warnings, they continued to party through the evening and police have decided to hand the party organiser a fine.
There are six students who live at the property in Harlaxton Drive, who were eating pizza in the garden when Nottinghamshire Live paid them a visit.
One teen has since spoken up about the massive house party, admitting that the gathering “got out of hand” after around 50 people turned up.
The student, who did not wish to give his name, told Nottinghamshire Live: “It was meant to be a small gathering with mates and it got out of hand.
“We had invited 25 people and it was out in the garden and aimed to end at 11pm and we were trying to social distance but then people invited their mates and so on.
“It got out of hand and we are really sorry.”
They did not want to discuss the £10,000 fine, and whether they would pay or appeal the decision, but acknowledged what had happened.
Now officers are warning others thinking of hosting parties this weekend ahead of the changes to think again or face the consequences.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper from Nottinghamshire Police said: “We need to all remember we are very much still in the middle of a global pandemic and we all need to take responsibility for our actions.
“This party was a clear example of a householder who deliberately flouted the rules without a care for anyone else and as a result we have used the full powers we have to deal with this.
“Under current rules we can issue fines to anyone hosting gatherings of more than 30 people which can result in fines of up to £10,000. And now we are on the eve of rules becoming even tighter so there can be gatherings of no more than six.
“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.”
Neighbours reported the house party to Nottinghamshire Police at around 10.20pm on Friday.
Community Protection Officers from Nottingham City Council initially attended but police said they were met with hostility from the organiser and so police were called to assist.
It’s alleged officers found around 50 people in the address who were all ordered to leave.
The occupant was later issued with the fine.
If he fails to pay or contests the fine he will appear before a court.
Residents in the area said they understood the house party was held in a student property.
The law recently changed to allow forces to impose bigger fines in response to increased reports of unlawful gatherings and unlicensed music events which are putting people’s lives in danger due to the current pandemic.
Amy English, Neighbourhood Policing Inspector for City Central, added: “Residents have had fair warning that we won’t tolerate people flouting the laws and regulations around the Coronavirus restrictions must be adhered to by everyone.
“In this case the resident also had the chance to shut the party down when they were first visited by our council colleagues.
“Despite blatantly breaching the regulations, there’s no doubt in my mind that not everyone attending would have been social distancing which is irresponsible and puts everyone’s health at risk.
“Throughout this pandemic the vast majority of local people have followed the advice and engaged really well with us. We have used enforcement only as a last resort and that will continue.
“We must take these incidents seriously, it puts everyone’s health at risk and we will be working closely with the council and any other relevant organisation to tackle any issues that may arise.”
Councillor Rebecca Langton, Nottingham City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities, Highways and Strategic Transport added: “The police’s action last night sends a clear message that breaking the rules, especially in the context of a global pandemic, will not be tolerated and each organisation in partnership will take whatever steps we can to keep our communities safe.”