Police have launched an investigation after more than 300 "selfish and irresponsible" people went to a party in a mansion near Edinburgh – showing a "blatant disregard" for coronavirus rules.
Officers were called to the Mansion House of Kirkhill in Gorebridge, about half an hour's drive outside the Scottish capital, at about 12.20am on Sunday.
Revellers were ordered to leave and a 29-year-old man was slapped with a fixed penalty charge for the party, which was being run as a commercial event.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the gathering "utterly irresponsible" amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Social distancing rules mean gatherings are limited to eight people from up to three households.
The property, which sleeps 34, is available to rent at £1,600 on Airbnb but the company said it was not booked through them.
It’s hard to put into words how utterly irresponsible this kind of behaviour is in current circumstances. It puts people at risk and threatens our progress out of lockdown. PLEASE do not attend house parties just now. https://t.co/3AnMMhs3IF— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon)September 3, 2020
The owners said the man who booked the property seemed "very pleasant" in a statement published on Facebook.
But they added: "We were then sadly as owners contacted at 1.30am Sunday morning by our old neighbours to say there was a huge rave and police were in attendance.
"We are seeking legal action against the organisers of this event and are devastated as a family that our trust was broken."
The statement went on: "It is after all our family home and we did not feel safe being there after so many people had been."
Ms Sturgeon said: “It’s hard to put into words how utterly irresponsible this kind of behaviour is in current circumstances.
"It puts people at risk and threatens our progress out of lockdown. PLEASE do not attend house parties just now.”
Officers are investigating potential culpable and reckless conduct charges and licensing breaches.
Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said “Those attending this organised event showed a blatant disregard for the regulations in place to help save lives and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“Further investigations are being carried out with a view to what other charges may be brought, including culpable and reckless conduct."
Councillor Stephen Curran, Chair of Midlothian Police, Fire and Rescue Board, said: “Those 300 or so people didn’t just put themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus, they put residents across Midlothian and beyond at risk.
“To call them selfish and irresponsible is an understatement. We realise it can be challenging following the guidance but if the majority of us can do it then so can they.”