A man who organised two illegal raves within eight days of each other during lockdown has been slapped with a £10,000 fine.
Abhishek Beltharia, 37, was found organising a second ‘unlicensed music event’ in an empty unit on an east London business park on September 8, just a week after hundreds of people had gathered for an illegal rave there on Bank Holiday Monday August 31.
Police and council licensing officers raided the unit on Forest Business Park in Leyton after the Bank Holiday party.
They found a well stocked bar – complete with a price list for beers, cider, whisky, vodka, gin, rum and brandy – as well as DJ equipment and lighting.
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Beltharia had no license for selling the alcohol or providing entertainment. The London Fire Brigade also identified issues with fire safety measures.
Police officers have served Beltharia, of Thornton Heath, south London, with a £10,000 fixed penalty notice under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions on Holding of Gatherings and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020.
Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader of Waltham forest Council, said: ‘This is a stellar example of joint partnership work between enforcement and Police officers to stop a mass illegal gathering.’
He added: ‘I want to thank residents and businesses who are working so hard to follow regulations, but I want to underline – as this fixed penalty notice shows – that there will be serious consequences for anyone who flouts the rule in the face of this global pandemic and endangers public health.’
Police have been allowed to issues a fixed penalty notice of a maximum of £10,000 to organisers of large gatherings since the summer.
People who organised protests, raves and house parties are among those to have been charged.
Last month, The National Police Chiefs’ Council temporarily advised police forces to stop issuing the fines because of concerns about disparities between those receiving a FPN and those appearing in court.
This was later resolved and the NPCC changed its guidance so fining could resume.
Detective Chief Constable John Arnold, of Waltham Forest Police, said: ‘The pandemic continues to test public resolve and police resourcing.
‘Enforcement tactics will be proportionate to tackle non-compliance in order to keep the public safe.’
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