A man who organised an illegal house party over the weekend could be facing up to £10,000 in fines.
Nottinghamshire Police officers used new legislation following a change in the law.
Two weeks ago the law was changed to allow forces to impose bigger fines in response to increased reports of unlawful gatherings and unlicensed music events which are putting people’s lives in danger due to the current pandemic.
Officers discovered up to 40 people were having a house party at a residence in The Meadows late on Saturday night.
Police quickly dispersed the gathering and warned the homeowner that he could now face fines of up to £10,000. He has been reported for summons for the offence and was issued with a fixed penalty notice. The amount of the fine will be decided in due course.
Now, police have joined forces with council officers to letter drop the local area warning residents that an illegal gathering like this could see action from both organisations, including fines, potential tenancy action, breaches of the Licencing Act or civil action being pursued.
The Home Office increased powers to forces following an increase in the number of illegal gatherings. While in the majority of cases, officers have been able to disperse these gatherings with no further action necessary, some have become violent leading to officers being assaulted.
In addition to the regulations on large gatherings being breached, officers have found that social distancing is not properly adhered to at many of these events, putting further people at risk during the ongoing pandemic.
The new fines are for those hosting raves or other unlawful gatherings of more than 30 people.
Neighbourhood Inspector James Walker said: “These measures send a clear message – if people deliberately hold illegal gatherings like this and put everyone’s health at risk then action will follow. “We work closely with the council and our partners in housing to tackle these issues and if you are identified as being responsible for organising or allowing your property to be used in conjunction with a party which results in ASB then we will look to take action. This could include fines of up to £10,000 for breaching Covid regulations, tenancy action, breaches of the Licencing Act or civil action being pursued.
“These events are hosted without regard for the safety of those attending. We strongly advise anyone considering such a party that you seriously consider the risks you’re creating for everyone in attendance and the wider community. There is a risk of prosecution for those who organise these events and equipment will be seized.”
Officers attended reports of the gathering at a property in Holgate Road, which was in breach of Covid-19 rules, at around 11.35 pm on Saturday.
Insp Walker added: “The restrictions on large gatherings remain in place for a very good reason – to limit the spread of Coronavirus – and we can only do that by abiding by the rules.
“Throughout this pandemic, the vast majority of local people have followed the advice and engaged really well with us. We have used enforcement only as a last resort and that will continue.
“We continue to work with our local authority and public health colleagues to engage with the public, explain the risks associated with taking part in such events and encourage our communities to comply with the restrictions.
“I would urge those thinking about organising or attending house parties or unlicensed music events to seriously consider the impact their actions are having not only on themselves but their family, friends and the wider community.
“Not only are you putting your health at risk, but you are breaking the restrictions and you risk being fined up to £10,000.
“Our priority, as always, is to protect the public and I would again like to think the vast majority of people who work with us to make this possible.”