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Police swoop on dozens of illegal coronavirus lockdown-busting parties across UK

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Police swooped on illegal parties across the UK including 70 in Birmingham last night – one of which was a full-fledged street party with marquees and a DJ.

The West Midlands city was placed on the Government watch list this week after a dramatic spike in the number of coronavirus infections.

There were also crackdowns on parties breaking lockdown in Greater Manchester, Huddersfield in West Yorkshire and Blackburn in Lancashire.

Police teams roamed across Birmingham closing down raves around 70 gatherings across the city.

They tweeted: "Our officers are out tonight responding to calls about large gatherings.

"Please stick to Government guidelines and keep safe.

"House party just dispersed in Quinton lots of people complying with our advice tonight.

"Everyone packed up and went home after we arrived – thank you for complying. Please understand we are still in a pandemic."

They continued: "Great work by our OpReliant teams tonight who have responded to over 70 street and house parties and other unlicensed events so far.

"Most people understand why we are doing this – stay safe and don't risk spreading the virus."

There were similar scenes in Greater Manchester where officers breaking up an illegal party attended by at least 50 people were met with violent opposition.

Two police vehicles were damaged in the clashes and four people were arrested as a result.

Police broke up an illegal rave in Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire, which had been attended by around 300 people and in Blackburn, Lancashire, more than 150 people were dispersed from a rave at a reservoir.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "These gatherings are dangerous and those who organise them show a blatant disregard for the safety of others."

She vowed to “crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law”.

Police in England are now able to fine organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people such as raves up to £10,000.

People who attend unauthorised raves and those who do not wear face coverings where it is mandatory can be given a £100 fine, doubling on each offence up to £3,200.

Commander Ade Adelekan from the National Police Chiefs' Council said the people who organised lockdown-busting parties "irresponsibly put people's health and safety at risk".

  • Coronavirus
  • Lockdown

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