Police raid London roof-top bash and smash ‘100-strong house party’ in Hertfordshire village

Priti Patel warned police are ready to tackle people flouting lockdown rules as she said they were seeing ‘dreadful’ breaches.  

The Home Secretary hit out after police broke up several illegal raves last night including one held on a London roof-top as the UK recorded the highest number of Covid deaths since the pandemic began. 

Officers in the capital were said to be ‘astounded’ after being called to break up a party at an industrial unit in Southwark last night, where they found at least 20 revellers on top of the building.

An illegal ‘house party’ of up to 100 people was also broken up by police in a Hertfordshire village, where music and alcohol were siezed. 

The events were branded ‘completely unacceptable’ by police who issued Covid fines and made several arrests.

Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Ms Patel said the government was not intending to make the lockdown tougher over the next few days – but she underlined that there will be harsher enforcement. 

She said police were having to ‘break up some really dreadful situations where people are breaching the rules’.

‘It is important that we enforce these rules. Your viewers will see more police officers out and about,’ she said.

‘The rules are clear and the majority of the British public are following the rules.’

Pointing to the huge death toll yesterday, she said most people understood the need to ‘stop the spread of the virus’. 

‘The police will continue to issue fines and enforce against people who are flagrantly breaching the rules,’ she said. 

‘Astounded’ officers in the capital were called to break up a party of 20 people having a rave on a roof-top in Southwark, South East London

It comes as the UK recorded the highest Covid death toll since the start of the pandemic

It comes as the UK recorded the highest Covid death toll since the start of the pandemic

Priti Patel warned police are ready to tackle people flouting lockdown rules as she said they were seeing 'dreadful' breaches

Priti Patel warned police are ready to tackle people flouting lockdown rules as she said they were seeing ‘dreadful’ breaches

Inspector Kio Bozorgi of Hertforshire Police said: ‘This is completely unacceptable behaviour.

‘With daily deaths over 1000, there is no good excuse to be breaking the lockdown rules.’ 

The parties were held illegally during the national lockdown with restrictions requiring people to stay at home in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. 

It comes as the UK recorded the highest Covid death toll since the start of the pandemic.     

After the UK recorded a further 1,564 victims yesterday, science chef Sir Patrick warned the UK is in for a ‘pretty grim period’ as deaths will not fall for ‘some weeks’. 

In London last night officers were called out to reports of loud music coming from the roof by disgusted residents. 

Many cheered the police on when they arrived to break up the illegal gathering on Pages Walk, Southwark. 

Officers found more than 20 people drinking, eating and playing music, leaving one officer ‘astounded’ at the rule-breaking.

In London last night officers were called out to reports of loud music coming from the roof by disgusted residents

In London last night officers were called out to reports of loud music coming from the roof by disgusted residents

Officers found more than 20 people drinking, eating and playing music, leaving one officer 'astounded' at the rule-breaking

Officers found more than 20 people drinking, eating and playing music, leaving one officer ‘astounded’ at the rule-breaking

Two people were arrested, including one individual on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon, while another was arrested for suspected drug dealing

Two people were arrested, including one individual on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon, while another was arrested for suspected drug dealing

Police also broke up a gathering of up to 100 people in Blanche Lane, in the Hertfordshire village of South Mimms, last night

Police also broke up a gathering of up to 100 people in Blanche Lane, in the Hertfordshire village of South Mimms, last night

‘Outraged’ couple hit back at ‘ridiculous’ officer who fined them £60 for visiting wife’s mother in Welsh care home after police cancel penalty 

A couple have hit back at a police officer who fined them £60 for visiting the wife’s mother in a Welsh care home after the force cancelled their penalty.

Carol Richards, 68, and her husband David, 66, from Bridgend, travelled 10 miles to visit dementia sufferer Decima Minhinnick at Picton Court Care Home. 

They were reprimanded by police on the way back despite having received permission to see Ms Minhinnick and handed a £60 penalty.

South Wales Police have now rescinded the fine after reviewing the incident, following a public backlash to the growing war on shutdown flouters.

Speaking this morning, Mrs Richards described the incident as ‘ridiculous’, adding that she was left feeling ‘really upset’ and ‘outraged’. 

Carol Richards' mother, Decima Minhinnick, pictured at her 90th birthday party. Mrs Richards and her husband David travelled 10 miles to visit her at Picton Court Care Home

Carol Richards’ mother, Decima Minhinnick, pictured at her 90th birthday party. Mrs Richards and her husband David travelled 10 miles to visit her at Picton Court Care Home

Referring to the female police officer, she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘I think she basically said it’s a non-essential visit.

‘But I sort of said then “we’ve been visiting my mum, we’ve been outside in a car park and I’ve been waving to her through the window” and she said “well we’d all like to wave to our mothers through the window”. 

‘I thought my goodness, this is a bit ridiculous, I said “look, she’s got vascular dementia, she’s living in a care home, I’ve been outside, nobody and has been around and I’ve just been waving to her.”

‘But she wasn’t engaged with me, she just ordered me, and I started to feel really upset and also outraged.’ 

In a tweet posted yesterday, South Wales Police said: ‘Police in Porthcawl issued a fixed penalty notice to a man who had travelled from his home in Penyfai to visit a relative on Sunday (10 January).

‘The circumstances of the journey and the issuing of the fine have since been reviewed and the notice has been rescinded. The individual concerned has been notified.

Two people were arrested, including one individual on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon, while another was arrested for suspected drug dealing. 

A further five people were handed fines for breaching Covid restrictions before the party was fully dispersed around 11.30pm. 

A similar event was also broken up in Herfordshire last night, where officers were called out to an address in South Mimms. 

Up to 100 people were said to have gathered at the home, which police suggested was rented accomodation. 

Police siezed alcohol and music equipment from the partygoers and one officer was injured while trying to break up the party, leading to an arrest. 

Covid fines were also handed out to the offenders breaching Covid rules. 

The gathering happened in the Hertsmere district which is currently the second worst-hit area in the county with 950 people testing positive in the last week, Hertforshire Live reports.  

The force’s Inspector Kio Bozorgi said: ‘This is completely unacceptable behaviour and I would like to reassure the community that action is being taken. Police have a variety of powers to their disposal which include powers of entry into premises to disrupt such activity.

‘With daily deaths over 1000, there is no good excuse to be breaking the lockdown rules. 

‘We all have a duty to protect our NHS and help save lives and I would like to take this opportunity to remind residents to do the right thing and respect the rules. 

‘Further enquiries will take place to establish the circumstances of this incident but I would like to remind you that renting accommodation in order to have a music event or gathering is not tolerated at this present time and lease holders found responsible will be prosecuted.’

Releasing details of the incident, a spokesperson from Hertforshire Constabulary said in a statement: ‘Officers have received a number of reports this evening of a large gathering at an address in Blanche Lane, South Mimms. 

‘Officers are currently at the scene and issuing COVID fines. 

‘Music equipment and alcohol have been seized and a Section 35 dispersal order has been put in place.

‘A person has also been arrested after an officer was injured while dealing with the incident.’  

Concerning the event in London, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called at around 22:25hrs on Wednesday, 13 January to reports of a group of people gathering at a location in Pages Walk, SE1. Officers attended.

‘A number of people were found inside a unit on an industrial estate. 

‘A small number of people were on the roof.

‘Five people were issued Fixed Penalty Notice fines for breaching Covid regulations.

‘Two people were arrested – one on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, and one for obstruction and possession with intent to supply class A and B drugs. 

‘Both were taken into custody. The remainder of those present were dispersed by around 23:30hrs.’

Despite her tough line on enforcement, Ms Patel seemed confused about coronavirus rules during her This Morning interview as she stressed the importance of exercising alone.

The guidance makes clear that in England someone is allowed to exercise outdoors with one other person from a different household.

Asked about the rules, Ms Patel told ITV’s This Morning: ‘The clarity is exercising on your own and not socialising.’

She added: ‘The point to make about any exercise – yes, it should be local, people exercise differently.

‘But exercise on your own and don’t use it for a social meeting.’

She said ‘cycling is fine, because you are on your own, you should not be cycling with other people’.

Ms Patel continued: ‘Running, exactly in the same way because you are on your own, walking on your own.’

 

England could escape tougher lockdown measures for now after science chief Patrick Vallance suggested the current measures are ‘enough’ to control the mutant Covid strain and Neil Ferguson pointed to a ‘plateau’ in hospital admissions.

Mr Johnson is set to hold off tightening the rules despite soaring deaths and Nicola Sturgeon imposing extra curbs in Scotland, as experts welcomed a ‘flattening’ in the number of new infections.

After the UK recorded its deadliest toll yet with 1,564 victims, Sir Patrick warned last night that the UK is in for a ‘pretty grim period’ as deaths will not fall for ‘some weeks’. 

But he also indicated that the case rate was more encouraging, with a run of four days of week-on-week falls.  

PM ‘delays tougher lockdown for England’ 

England could escape tougher lockdown measures for now after science chief Patrick Vallance suggested the current measures are ‘enough’ to control the mutant Covid strain and Neil Ferguson pointed to a ‘plateau’ in hospital admissions.

Boris Johnson is set to hold off tightening the rules despite soaring deaths and Nicola Sturgeon imposing extra curbs in Scotland, as experts welcomed a ‘flattening’ in the number of new infections.

After the UK recorded its deadliest toll yet with 1,564 victims, Sir Patrick warned last night that the UK is in for a ‘pretty grim period’ as deaths will not fall for ‘some weeks’ . 

But he also indicated that the case rate was more encouraging, with a run of four days of week-on-week falls.  

Sir Patrick said: ‘I think what we know now, which we didn’t know a few weeks ago, was would these sorts of restrictions be enough to bring this virus under control with the new variant? And the answer is yes, it looks like it is, and things are at least flattening off in some places, not everywhere.’

Professor Ferguson – whose modelling is reputed to have triggered the first lockdown in March – said this morning that the growth rate was slowing nationally, and in some NHS regions there were ‘signs of plateauing’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It looks like in London in particular and a couple of other regions in the South East and East of England, hospital admissions may even have plateaued, though it is hard to tell if they are coming down.

‘It has to be said this is not seen everywhere – both case numbers and hospital admissions are going up in many other areas, but overall at a national level we are seeing the rate of growth slow.’

The powerful Covid O Cabinet committee is due to meet today to consider the state of play, including signing off a travel ban from South America due to fears over an emerging super-strain in Brazil. However, it is not expected to ramp up the lockdown in England.

Sir Patrick said: ‘I think what we know now, which we didn’t know a few weeks ago, was would these sorts of restrictions be enough to bring this virus under control with the new variant? And the answer is yes, it looks like it is, and things are at least flattening off in some places, not everywhere.’

Professor Ferguson – whose modelling is reputed to have triggered the first lockdown in March – said this morning that the growth rate was slowing nationally, and in some NHS regions there were ‘signs of plateauing’.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘It looks like in London in particular and a couple of other regions in the South East and East of England, hospital admissions may even have plateaued, though it is hard to tell if they are coming down.

‘It has to be said this is not seen everywhere – both case numbers and hospital admissions are going up in many other areas, but overall at a national level we are seeing the rate of growth slow.’

The powerful Covid O Cabinet committee is due to meet today to consider the state of play, including signing off a travel ban from South America due to fears over an emerging super-strain in Brazil. However, it is not expected to ramp up the lockdown in England.

Priti Patel said this morning that the Government is not bringing in new social distancing restrictions ‘today or tomorrow’. 

In a series of appearances yesterday, Mr Johnson refused to rule out extra measures, but hailed ‘early’ signs that coronavirus is coming back under control.  

The PM insisted the measures in England were being kept ‘under constant review’ as Labour demanded to know why they were looser than last spring despite cases being higher. 

He warned that the NHS was at ‘substantial risk’ of being swamped, and the ‘only way’ of protecting it was to follow the ‘current rules’. 

But despite the mounting death toll, Mr Johnson sounded a notably optimistic tone about the emerging impact of the restrictions. 

He said the country was ‘now starting to see the beginnings of some signs’ that the crackdown was having an effect in parts of the country, while stressing it was ‘early days’ and urged people to ‘keep their discipline’. 

MailOnline analysis suggests the outbreak in England may have started slowing before the blanket lockdown on January 4, with infection numbers peaking in the worst-hit regions at the start of the year. The tide appears to have turned in parts of the country experiencing the worst outbreaks – London, the South East and the East of England – in the first week of 2021, with cases coming down since then. 

Coronavirus hospital admissions have also started to fall in London and the South East, although the numbers of patients are still rising on wards after surging above the peaks recorded in the first wave. 

Ms Patel said earlier this week that a minority of the public were ‘putting the health of the nation at risk’ as she backed a tougher police approach to lockdown rules.

Speaking at a Downing Street press briefing on Tuesday, she said officers are moving more quickly to issuing fines where people are clearly breaching coronavirus regulations, with nearly 45,000 fixed penalty notices issued across the UK since March.

Chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt said that more officers will be out on dedicated patrols to deal with rule breakers,

He gave examples of recent breaches including another party in Hertfordahire where more than 40 people had each paid £30 each for a ticket to a boat party. 

A minibus full of people from different households was also caught travelling from Cheltenham to Wales for a walk.  

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