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30th March 2020

Coronavirus: Police break up 'massive' karaoke party during UK lockdown

BY: Sky News

The British public have been under an unprecedented lockdown for nearly a week, with people told to stay inside and avoid gatherings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

But the government measures weren't enough to stop 25 adults and children gathering for a "massive" karaoke party on Saturday night.

Derbyshire Police said they were in "absolute shock" when they visited the address, before dispersing those in attendance and speaking with the organisers.

The force said on Twitter: "Officers have just attended an address in absolute shock to find 25 adults and children having a massive party with speakers and karaoke.

"Everyone dispersed and hosts dealt with.

"It is clear people are still having complete disregard for the government advice and rules."

The party came on the first weekend of the nationwide lockdown in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, where the British people have been told to stay at home for at least three weeks except for "very limited purposes".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the measures to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus by limiting day-to-day contact between people.

Lockdown rules: The only reasons you should leave the house

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk or cycle - alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home

Police across the UK have been given powers to enforce the lockdown measures, including issuing fines and dispersing gatherings.

Some forces even urged people to snitch on their neighbours if they were spotted breaching the rules.

Humberside, West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Avon and Somerset Police provided hotlines and online portals for people to submit tip-offs.

Those who attended the karaoke party were not the only ones to flout the rules in the UK's first few days of lockdown.

Crawley Police said they had "attended a number of reports of parties in houses and neighbour gatherings" on Saturday.

The force also wrote on Twitter that they had been "hearing of local pubs sending information about paid lock-ins, also ignoring any lockdown rule currently in place".

Crawley Police added: "Our licensing officers will be checking EVERY pub in the area to ensure all establishments are keeping to the guidelines."

A walker from Bristol was reportedly stopped by police as they tried to climb the Pen y Fan mountain in the Brecon Beacons in Wales.

Dyfed-Powys Police told Wales Online that they ordered the person to go home immediately.

Marylebone Farmers' Market in London appeared to be relatively busy on Sunday morning despite the public being told to only leave the home for essential reasons.

Signs were in place at the market telling shoppers to keep at least two metres apart in queues.

The Department of Health tweeted a video on Saturday repeating the message for the public to "stay home and save lives" over the weekend.

The chief medical officer Chris Whitty added that people should practice social distancing when they do have to leave the house.

Twitter user Nick Doody shared an image of his neighbours enjoying a socially distanced "cuppa and a chat" in the street to help someone who was "struggling with loneliness".

Mr Doody, who lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, wrote: "Our street now has a WhatsApp group & this morning one neighbour was struggling with loneliness, so earlier we all had a socially distanced cuppa and chat together.

"This stuff makes a difference."

The daughter of former Labour leader Neil Kinnock dropped a birthday cake and a lamb curry on her father's doorstep in keeping with social distancing measures on Saturday.

Rachel Kinnock wrote on Twitter: "Thank you so very much for all the lovely messages to our dad, it means such a lot.

"We were able to safely deliver a cake, a crumble and a lamb curry!"

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A police officer was seen asking people to leave Brighton beach over the weekend, after dozens of people were pictured taking a stroll or sitting on the pebbles.

Rollerbladers and dog walkers were seen taking in the sea air along the town's promenade.

A police officer in London was seen stopping cyclists from entering Richmond Park in London on Saturday. Bike-riding has been banned there due to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Police also set up a checkpoint at Aysgarth Falls in North Yorkshire to ensure motorists were complying with the lockdown measures.

Sky News assistant editor Lucy Margolis shared an image on Twitter of an "eerie" stretch of the M1 motorway as it was almost completely empty of cars.

Police in Herefordshire warned they would be randomly checking drivers to make sure their journeys were in keeping with the lockdown rules.

They added that they would "direct, fine and arrest if necessary" those who ignore the guidance.

Officers in Wolverhampton stopped drivers to ensure their journeys were essential in light of the government measures.

PC Joe Iles tweeted that he had never seen Park Street in Bristol so empty on Friday.

Avon and Somerset Police later shared the tweet and encouraged people to stay home.

The force also said on Sunday that arrests were made overnight after officers were spat on, coughed at and physically attacked.

Chief Superintendent Carolyn Belafonte said any assault on officers of this nature were particularly abhorrent in light of the public health crisis.

Police in Northern Ireland are to target tourist sites and visitor locations to ensure compliance with social-distancing rules, the chief constable has said.

People who repeatedly fail to comply with officer requests to disperse could face fines up to £960 under new emergency regulations agreed by the Stormont Executive.

The measures, which came into force at 11pm on Saturday, also provide for fines up to £5,000 for businesses not adhering to the new rules around closures and implementation of social-distancing practices.

Northern Ireland was the last part of the UK to develop regulations flowing from new powers secured through legislation passed at Westminster earlier in the week.

(c) Sky News 2020: Coronavirus: Police break up 'massive' karaoke party during UK lockdown

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