£10,000 fine after up to 50 guests turned up to ‘reckless’ christening party

By Richard Vernalls, PA
·2-min read

The organisers of a christening party attended by up to 50 guests have been fined £10,000 for allegedly breaching Covid-19 rules.

West Midlands Police said guests from as far away as London attended the do in Wolverhampton, which included a hired marquee, DJ decks, live entertainers and tables piled high with food and drink.

The force issued bodycam footage of what it called a “blatant breach” of the rules on Thursday.

In the video, the male organiser is seen telling police he does not “believe” in the virus. He also raised twice how much it had cost to stage the party.

Under Wolverhampton’s Tier 2 restrictions, household mixing is banned indoors and the rule of six applies outdoors.

The city of 260,000 is grappling with a rising Covid infection rate with 639 cases reported in the seven days up to October 26, according to NHS data.

Police said it was the first such “super fine” to be handed out in Wolverhampton.

When officers first arrived at the home, the organiser said: “I’m christening my small baby. We’re having a little bit of a party.”

The male then claimed there were 20 people attending, however officers counted well over 40 party-goers for themselves.

On being told the party was a breach of Covid rules, the organiser replied: “Oh my god, I spent too much money on this party. Give me one hour.”

Told why the party had to end, he then said: “I know but I don’t believe in this virus because it’s no harm.”

On being told of the £10,000 fine, he replied: “I cannot pay that.”

Superintendent Simon Inglis, of West Midlands Police, called the pre-planned party “a reckless breach” of rules “when the deadly virus is spreading”.

He added: “This is not about stopping people’s fun and celebrations but it is about saving lives from this awful virus.

“The vast majority are following the guidelines and having to make personal sacrifices.

“There are people unable to attend funerals and say goodbye to loved ones while abiding by the restrictions.”

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, Wolverhampton city council’s public health cabinet member, said residents “will be as disgusted as I am at the actions of others who, through their thoughtlessness, are putting people’s lives at risk”.