Covid fines worth £18k dished out to people who went to Swindon house party

A general view of Primrose Close (Google). Inset: A Wiltshire Police car (PA).
A general view of Primrose Close. Inset: A Wiltshire Police car Credit: Google/PA

Police have issued fines worth £800 to 23 people who broke Covid lockdown rules to go to a house party in Swindon at the weekend.

Wiltshire Police were called to a large gathering at a property in Primrose Close, Haydon Wick, at around 9.30pm on Saturday 30 January.

When officers arrived, 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 them it was his birthday and his friends had travelled from as far afield as Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire to attend his party.

Officers broke up the party, dispersing the guests and ordering them home.

In total, 23 people aged between 21 and 64, including the homeowner, were issued with fixed penalty notices for participating in a gathering of more than 15 people in a private dwelling, which now carries a £800 fine.

Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said he was shocked by the incident, adding it was inconceivable the people involved did not realise they were breaking the lockdown restrictions.

He said: "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."

He added: "I hope these fines serve as a stark warning to anyone considering breaching the Government restrictions. You are not above the law, and we will take appropriate action against the small minority who continue to flout the rules and put lives at risk."

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