More than 80 fines have been issued after Greater Manchester Police officers were called to a number of reports of COVID-19 regulation breaches over the weekend.
Included in the breaches was a large gathering of more than 100 people – reported just before 10pm on Saturday night – where officers were informed that 10 people were in the yard of an industrial unit on Mary Street in Manchester city centre before arriving at the scene.
Upon arrival, they found a large number of people inside the unit after officers opened numerous locked doors.
It has been confirmed that a total of 17 people were handed fixed penalty notices at the gathering and officers are working alongside partners in licensing to close the premises.
Hours later though – just after 1am on Sunday – officers were also called to a report of a party on Butterton Drive in Manchester, where a number of people had sprawled out onto the street on police arrival, requiring the attendance of further patrols.
An officer was also allegedly bitten on the arm whilst trying to break up the party, and one person has been charged with assaulting an emergency worker.
Greater Manchester Police also confirmed officers attended several other gatherings across the region – with breaches reported in Manchester city centre and Stockport over the weekend – which resulted in a number of fines being issued.
Speaking on the COVID breaches of this past weekend, Nick Bailey – Assistant Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police – said: “These parties are a blatant disregard of the rules and pose a significant health risk to all those involved and the rest of the communities in Greater Manchester.
“The world is currently facing a public health crisis and breaking such regulations is simply against the law and selfish. Though the lockdown has a huge effect on the people of Greater Manchester’s lives – the restrictions are there to save lives.
“We have no alternative but to issue fines for blatant disregard of the rules.
“Large gatherings pose a monumental risk to people’s lives and I hope this serves as a reminder to those considering to flout the rules. We will take action. But I would also remind the public who choose to so obviously breach these rules, this is adding to the pressure on policing when we would much rather be responding to other calls from the public.
“This is a challenging time for everyone but we all need to make sure we work together to reduce the risk posed by the spread of COVID-19.”
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.