Lockdown rule breakers: House parties, a shopping trip, and a barber shop

Swindon house party
23 people who gathered at a house party in Swindon at the weekend were fined £800 Credit: Wiltshire Police

Police forces across the South and South East are urging people to follow the rules of lockdown.

Covid: What you can and can't do under England's new national lockdown

Sussex, Wiltshire and Kent Police have handed out multiple fixed notice penalties to rule breakers over the last few weeks.

  • Watch as birthday party gets shut down by police

23 people who gathered at a house party in Swindon at the weekend were fined £800 by Wiltshire police for breaching coronavirus restrictions.

The partygoers, aged between 21 and 64, including the homeowner, were handed a fixed penalty notice for participating in a gathering of more than 15 people in a private dwelling.

Officers arrived at the house in Primrose Close, Haydon Wick around 9.30pm they found a number of vehicles parked outside the house and loud music coming from inside.

They entered the property via the garden gate and found two men cooking food on a barbecue, with further food and alcohol laid out inside.

The homeowner told officers that it was his birthday and that his friends had travelled from as far afield as Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire to attend the party.

The Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police says it is a stark warning to others considering breaking the rules.

"It is astounding to me that people still believe it is acceptable to travel across the country to attend a birthday party.

"The recent news that the UK has now passed the terrible milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths is a tragic reminder of exactly what our country is dealing with right now, and I cannot fathom the thinking behind a decision to host or attend a house party during these unprecedented times.

"I have been clear that our policing response must continue to be robust, fair and consistent and this enforcement action is exactly what I would expect my officers to be doing with such a flagrant breach.

"Our NHS services, including our local hospitals here in Swindon and Wiltshire, remain under immense pressure and incidents like this are a slap in the face of those staff working tirelessly around the clock to care for the seriously ill and save lives."

In the past week, Sussex Police has received 776 Covid related calls. Credit: Sussex Police

Sussex Police said they have been dealing with people providing 'outrageous' excuses for breaching coronavirus legislation.

In the past week, the force received 776 Covid related calls with the majority being to linked businesses remaining open, households mixing, challenging wearing a mask, parties and the use of accommodation associated with unnecessary travel. 

These included: 

  • Two men who travelled from London to Hove to buy a pair of headphones

  • A woman who travelled from London to Brighton for a photo shoot

  • People who attended a gathering at Forest Row, despite an earlier warning

  • People attending a 21st birthday party in Brighton

  • Watch Covid rules breakers in Kent

In Kent, police issued nearly 1,000 fines since the beginning of January for breaches of regulations.

Among those fined between Friday, 29 January and Sunday, 31 January were four men who were part of a group of 20 involved in a football match in Dartford.

Kent Police also responded to reports of a business breaching Covid regulations in Northfleet.

Officers visited a barber shop where a man confirmed he was still taking appointments. Whilst officers were giving advice to the man a customer called the business, saying they were ‘out back’ and waiting for their haircut.