THE organiser of a wedding party in Margaretting has become the first person in Essex to be fined £10,000 for organising a large gathering.
Officers began receiving reports from the public at around 4.15pm on Sunday 11 October that a large wedding party with 80 guests was taking place at Ariana Gardens in Ivy Barn Lane, Margaretting.
When our officers arrived they found approximately 80 guests enjoying a sit-down dinner.
Each guest present was spoken to by our team who explained that the wedding was in breach of COVID-19 restrictions. All of those present were asked to comply by leaving the venue and it was made clear that those who refused or were obstructive would be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
Each of the guests complied and left the venue.
While officers remained on scene they carried out enquiries to establish the identity of the organiser of the event.
A 41-year-old man was identified as being the organiser of the wedding party and they were reported for summons to court for holding a gathering of more than 15 people in breach of Coronavirus legislation, which carries a £10,000 fine.
Essex Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet: “This wedding party was a blatant breach of the current restrictions which only allows for 15 people to be present at a wedding.
“The legislation exists for a reason, which is to stop the spread of the virus and to protect our communities as we all work together to drive down the risk of infection.
“Throughout the last more than six months many of us have missed weddings, funerals, special events and the opportunity to see our wider family and friends – it has been hard for all of us.
“But while the majority of people in Essex continue to do all they can to support us and help stop the spread of the virus, a selfish few think they can flout the rules with no thought for the health risk posed by their actions.
“Throughout the last few months we have taken every opportunity to engage with our residents and explain where we have found them not following rules, enforcement has always been a last resort and reserved only for those flagrantly or persistently breaking the law.
“In situations such as this, a large wedding organised with no regard for the law, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action as we do all we can to keep the people of Essex safe.”
We want people to continue to report Covid breaches, but please check before you report something, to be sure as you can be that you aren’t mis-reading a situation before contacting us.