Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper
A restaurant owner has been fined £5,000 for hosting a wedding in breach of Covid regulations - after she told authorities of her plans in advance.
Wanda Trela-Pyzalska applied for permission to host a wedding at her restaurant in Kettering in April 2021 when rules stated weddings could have no more than 15 guests.
North Northamptonshire Council (NNC) then informed her that such events were in breach of Covid regulations and they would need more information from her, but she withdrew her application on 20 April.
On 15 May - the date that Trela-Pyzalska had asked to host the wedding - a council officer visited The Tavern and Restaurant in Bath Road with two police officers, and found a wedding celebration taking place on the first floor.
One of the police officers counted 27 people in attendance.
They informed the owner that the celebration was in breach of the Covid regulations. The guests agreed to leave and sit in groups of no more than six and the owner also agreed to close the premises by 10pm.
Trela-Pyzalska pleaded guilty to the charge during a hearing at Wellingborough Magistrates' Court earlier this month.
On top of the £5,000 fine, she was ordered to pay costs of £1,050 and a victim surcharge of £190.
David Brackenbury, NNC’s member for growth and regeneration, said: “We are aware that the hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and the rules have been difficult, but the legislation in place at the time was clear and there to protect both staff and customers and minimise risk of spreading the virus.”
The council said it had worked closely with police and evidence from body cameras was used during the court hearing.
Assistant Chief Constable Simon Blatchly, from Northamptonshire Police, said: “The rules around large gatherings were very clear at the time of this offence and had been shared with the business prior to this event.
“We know the vast majority of businesses abided by the law during the pandemic, particularly when the risk to public health was high, and so it’s right that those people who so flagrantly broke the law are pursued in the courts.”