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Canterbury house party hosts are dealt Kent’s first £10,000 fine

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Two women each face a fine of £10,000 after breaching Covid-19 regulations by organising a party at a house in Canterbury.

Kent Police officers were on patrol in Ulcombe Gardens when they heard noise coming from a residential address during the early hours of Thursday 22 October 2020. A large gathering, well in excess of 30 people, was discovered inside the property along with a DJ and dance area.

Patrols engaged with the group and reminded them of the latest Government guidance in relation to Covid-19. The party was dispersed and following further enquiries, on Friday 23 October, two 19-year-old women were reported for breaching regulations. They were both issued with fixed penalty notices and now face a fine of £10,000 each.

Kent Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Nicola Faulconbridge said: ‘Covid-19 remains a real and deadly threat, with the prospect of rising cases an ongoing concern across the UK.

‘Over the past week we have received a number of similar calls to properties in the Canterbury area concerning gatherings, mostly involving groups of young adults. This is simply unacceptable and I would like to remind everyone of the detrimental impact such incidents can have on our communities and which could result in greater lock down measures being imposed on the county.

‘Social gatherings, indoors or outdoors, are still limited to groups of no more than six. It is also a criminal offence for people to organise or facilitate unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people and anyone caught doing this risks a high fine as a result of their actions. Parties like this not only put those people who attend at risk of contracting the virus, but those individuals may pass it onto others including members of their own family or work colleagues, any of whom may be especially vulnerable.

‘We understand this is a difficult time for many people and whilst the vast majority are complying with the restrictions in place, I am taking this opportunity to further remind everyone of the law and the current Government guidance.

‘With Halloween and Bonfire Night just around the corner, people must ensure that any event they attend is in line with the restrictions currently in place. It is important we all continue to do what is right to prevent the spread of the virus and help save lives.

‘Officers will continue to work with local authorities, schools, universities and colleges, particularly in light of this recent incident in Canterbury, to ensure the regulations are being followed. Engaging, explaining and encouraging people to do the right thing will continue to be our preferred approach but rest assured we will take enforcement action when appropriate.’