United Kingdom

'We don't watch the news': Lockdown-flouting revellers claim ignorance of global pandemic

Lockdown-flouting revellers told police they had no idea there was a pandemic on because 'we don't watch the news' when their party was busted on Saturday night.

Hampshire Police were called to a house in Basingstoke at around 8.30pm where a total of six people were gathered - four of whom did not live there. 

'The occupants were spoken to and claimed to be unaware of the global pandemic, as they never watch the news! #ThereAreNoWords,' the police force tweeted.

The party was broken up and a 27-year-old man fined. 

It comes amid surging coronavirus infections in Basingstoke, where Britain's seventh temporary morgue will open its doors this week.

Hampshire Police were called to an address in Basingstoke at around 8.30pm where a total of six people were gathered - four of whom did not leave at the property (stock image)

Hampshire Constabulary tweeted about the incident which has now gone viral

In the seven days to January 11, there were 954 cases in the borough of Basingstoke and Deane - a 16.6 per cent increase on the week before. 

A record six deaths were recorded in the borough last Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the country, Avon and Somerset Police were called to a student party at a halls of residence in Bristol city centre on Friday.  

Body-worn camera footage shows how they flung open the doors to find dozens of youngsters lining the hallways in breach of covid rules.

Two 19-year-olds were slapped with fines while the rest of the attendees dispersed.

Fines start at £200 and can be doubled up to £6,400 for repeat offenders. 

Organisers of large parties can be hit with £10,000 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) - but it is not known what amount the two men were fined.

Chief Inspector Justin French condemned their actions, saying Bristol's spiralling Covid rates makes the party 'even more reprehensible'.  

A further 37,535 Britons tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. Of those, 253 were in Bristol.

Shocking police bodycam footage (pictured) captures the moment officers storm a lockdown-flouting 'reckless' student party in Bristol

Chief Inspector French said in a statement following the raid: 'It's hard to believe those involved in this gathering would be so reckless and act without care or thought about the impact their actions will have on the community in which they live. 

'This is a deadly virus and rates in Bristol have been rising, which makes their actions even more reprehensible. 

'Most people are doing the right thing and staying at home. 

'It's the actions of a few people who are ignoring or bending the rules which is putting everyone at risk. 

'We have dedicated patrols in place to respond to breaches of Covid-19 legislation and officers and staff will continue to work round-the-clock to play their part in helping to stop the further spread of this virus.'

Police flung open the doors of the halls in Bristol city centre (pictured) to find dozens of students standing in groups in the hallway

Condemning the student's actions, a University of Bristol spokesperson told ITV: 'We were disappointed to receive reports of a gathering on Friday night at a student residence in Bristol City Centre that breached Covid regulations.

'The police were called and have issued fines. We will follow this up internally, and will take appropriate disciplinary action as necessary.

Forces across the UK have broken up parties and meet-ups and fined people for visiting beauty spots despite lockdown rules.  

The Metropolitan Police said officers had issued more than 140 FPNs totalling £39,000 in two days in the Tower Hamlets and Hackney areas of London.

On January 15, officers were called to a property in Brick Lane, east London, and found more than 40 people having a party at an Airbnb.

Three officers were injured and three arrests were made for possession of a class B substance, breach of coronavirus legislation and assault on an emergency worker.

On January 16, officers attended a place of worship in Stamford Hill, Hackney, and found evidence of a large party being cleared away.

Officers later returned and found evidence of another large party, and the organiser was reported for consideration of a £10,000 fine.

Students (pictured) can be heard talking loudly to each other and shouting 'go' to clear the area as the police make their way through in the clip, which has appears to have been blurred

Surrey Police said they issued more than 100 fines of £200 to people between January 4 and 17.

Penalties issued in the last week include a man fined after driving more than 30 miles from his home in Chalfont St Giles, south-east Buckinghamshire.

Stopped in Walton, Surrey, he told police he had gone for a drive and to buy a takeaway, which the force believed to be fried chicken.

Surrey Police also issued a man with an fine after he told officers he was travelling from Surbiton to Guildford on a train to buy cannabis.

A couple who had travelled from separate households to meet in a car late at night were found by officers in Grandstand Road car park, Epsom Downs, and issued with FPNs.

Chief Inspector Dan Gutierrez said: 'We know the overwhelming majority of people in Surrey are doing the right thing by staying home, wearing masks and social distancing, but passing the hundred mark for FPNs issued this lockdown is not a matter for celebration.'

Two 19-year-olds were slapped with fines for breaching lockdown rules while the rest of the attendees dispersed. Pictured: Police bodycam footage of the raid

Between January 11 and 17, Wiltshire Police said officers had issued 104 formal warnings for failing to adhere to Government rules and recorded four Covid-related crimes and 35 incidents.

Of 21 fines issued in the same time, most were for people who had been gathering in groups outside.

On January 14, a man from Luton, Bedfordshire, was stopped in Devizes, central Wiltshire, and claimed he had travelled to get a McDonalds.

There is no McDonalds in Devizes and the man was issued with a £200 FON.

Two motorists were reported by North Wales Police in Anglesey after driving more than 200 miles from Scotland to visit friends.

The drivers, who were stopped by police at Valley, near Holyhead, were found to be driving without insurance and breaching Covid travel restrictions.

South Wales Police said 90 people had been fined for breaches of Alert Level 4 Covid restrictions over the weekend.

Avon and Somerset Police Chief Inspector Justin French condemned their actions, saying Bristol's spiraling Covid rates makes the party (pictured) 'even more reprehensible'

Officers issued fines to a man who had travelled nearly 30 miles across South Wales to take pictures for a photography competition in Cardiff, and a man who failed to self-isolate with his Covid-positive wife in Barry.

Fines were also handed to eight people who had congregated in a garden shed in Sketty, Swansea, and nine who had gathered for a gender reveal party at a house in Townhill, Swansea.

South Wales Police also issued a warning about anti-social behaviour to a group of up to 30 youths seen climbing the roofs of businesses and free-running in Holton Road, Barry.

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