Covid: Police 'forced to put their own health at risk' breaking up illegal London rave attended by 300

Police have been "forced... to put their own health at risk" to break up an illegal rave attended by more than 300 people in east London.

More than £15,000 in fines were handed out to 78 people, the Metropolitan Police said.

Loud music had been heard coming from inside the venue under a railway arch on Nursery Road and a significant number of people were found packed inside the small space, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Dozens of ravers attempted to flee following the arrival of the police, scaling fences at the rear of the arch while others forced open a gate to get away from officers.

The Met said multiple attempts were made to engage with the event’s organisers, who were “unco-operative”, and at one point the doors were padlocked from the inside to stop police getting in.

Additional resources including police dogs and a helicopter were deployed.

A total of 78 people were stopped and issued with fixed penalty notices to the value of £200 for breaching Covid regulations by attending an illegal gathering – a total of £15,600.

Police can hand out £10,000 on the spot fines to organisers of illegal gatherings and on Friday, Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that from next week a new fine of £800 is being introduced for people caught at house partiesFines will double for each repeated offence, with officers able to give out a maximum penalty of £6,400.

Officers at the scene in Nursery Road Credit: Met Police/PA

Chief Superintendent Roy Smith, who attended the incident, said: “This was a serious and blatant breach of the public health regulations and the law in relation to unlicensed music events.

“Officers were forced, yet again, to put their own health at risk to deal with a large group of incredibly selfish people who were tightly packed together in a confined space – providing an ideal opportunity for this deadly virus to spread.

“Our front line officers continue to police this public health crisis with compassion and professionalism but it is completely unacceptable they have to face such needless risks to their own health and to their families too.

“Whilst we will always seek to engage and explain, the message to those who have a total disregard for the safety of others and breach the law so blatantly is clear, our officers will act swiftly and decisively.

“Not just organisers, but all those present at such illegal parties can expect to be issued a fine.”

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