Police in Surrey shut down a wedding attended by dozens of guests on New Year’s Day and fined the hosts £10,000.
Officers discovered the event after spotting more than 30 vehicles parked on a farm in the early hours of 2 January.
The owner of the address in the village of Kingswood initially tried to claim the crowd had been there to shoot a promotional video.
But a guest later admitted to officers they had been there to attend a wedding.
£10k fine issued after large gathering found in #Kingswood 2.30am today. Cars seen going into address in Stubbs Lane, occupant claimed they were filming video for wedding party promotion. No £10k fines issued on NY Eve - thanks for high level of compliance https://t.co/dI9zJBSqtZ pic.twitter.com/doQIKwsz69
— Surrey Police (@SurreyPolice) January 2, 2021
A cordon was set up at the entrance to the address and cars were allowed to leave after the police had written down their number plates.
Officers then issued a £10,000 fixed penalty notice for holding a party in contradiction of COVID-19 regulations.
Surrey, along with most of England, is currently under the strictest Tier 4 lockdown measures which mean weddings must only take place with up to six people and in exceptional circumstances.
A reason for a wedding may be allowed to go ahead would be if a family member is seriously ill and not expected to recover.
Cases are extremely high in the Reigate and Banstead district where the party took place in east Surrey.
There were 592 cases per 100,000 people in last week of December. The average in England is 307.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Ali Barlow, responsible for local policing in Surrey, said: “We know that this remains a challenging time and that everyone is doing their best to adapt and follow the rules in place for everyone’s safety.
“We appreciate that friends and family will want to come together for special occasions and we are grateful to the majority who are adhering to the restrictions and playing their part in keeping loved ones safe and therefore supporting our frontline health colleagues.
“Our well-established policing approach of engaging, educating and explaining remains the same.
“However, where there are exceptional cases, only as a last resort and where people show a blatant disregard for the rules, we will take enforcement action.”
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