Fines worth £11,000 handed to people at child’s birthday party

Birthday party table with sweets for kids
Police found 24 people celebrating at a children's birthday party. (Getty)

Police have broken up a child’s birthday party after finding 24 people celebrating in a small flat.

Officers attended the property in Victoria Street, Mansfield, at around 3pm on Thursday and found 14 adults alongside ten children.

They were alerted by members of the public when they saw party banners at the family barbecue, police said.

COVID-19 laws do not allow mixing indoors with people who are not in your “social bubble”, so the adults were fined a total of £11,200.

New legislation brought on 29 January increased the fines to £800 per adult for a gathering above 15 people inside a property.

Read more: What you can and can't do under current lockdown rules

A fluorescent jacket with handcuffs and cap.
Police attended the flat in Victoria Street, Mansfield, on Thursday. (Getty)

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: "It's very disappointing to hear that officers had to break up another large gathering in the county.

"It is clear that there is still a minority of people who think the rules do not apply to them or that the can make up their own versions of the guidelines.

"When we attend a party we will firstly encourage people to disperse safely.

"We would appeal to all local residents to comply with the COVID-19 regulations which are there to protect everyone.

"It is the case that people are being issued fines for breaching the regulations, but more importantly the virus is spreading rapidly throughout the community and people are dying.”

ACC Cooper said officers were putting their own health, as well as their families’ health, on the line by attending house parties night after night.

He added: “We would like to continue to praise their bravery on attending these mass gatherings and working so hard in difficult and anxiety-filled circumstances.”

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The latest coronavirus laws came into force as part of tougher measures to crack down on illegal gatherings during the pandemic.

The penalties apply for groups of more than 15 people and will double after each offence, up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offenders.

The £10,000 penalties for unlawful groups of more than 30 people will still only apply to the organiser.

According to the legislation, which has now been published and is called the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers and Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, the £800 fine is cut to £400 if paid within 14 days.

As well as those in private dwellings, the rule also applies to similar gatherings in “educational accommodation”, the documents setting out the new law said.

The new laws give police powers to access Test and Trace data, the documents also suggest.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown