Police officer 'assaulted' after breaking up party as number of Covid fines increases in Lancashire

A total of 277 people were handed fines for flouting lockdown restrictions at the weekend, police have confirmed.

Lancashire Police said they responded to 461 reports of lockdown breaches, and issued a total of 277 tickets between 7am on Friday (February 5) and 6am yesterday (Monday, February 8).

Chief Supt Sam Mackenzie said they had seen a "disappointing" rise in the number of tickets issued, and urged people to stick to the rules and regulations "to keep us all safe."

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He added: "While we are continuing to spend most of our time dealing with crime and keeping people safe, having to attend breaches of Coronavirus rules takes us away from that.

Lancashire Police said they responded to 461 reports of lockdown breaches over the weekend.

When the call came in about the warehouse party in Lancaster, there were already several other incidents ongoing in the area – and as a result one team of officers had to stay on well past the end of their shift to help with the demand.

"We have always taken a proportionate approach to breaches of the regulations – educating, explaining and engaging first, with enforcement as a last resort – but when people blatantly break the rules we will not hesitate to take a firmer approach."

Here are some of the incidents police attended:

- Broke up a large party at a warehouse on St George’s Quay, Lancaster, "with well over 50 people in attendance".

38 tickets were issued during this incident alone.

- Located an illegal "drinking den" inside an industrial unit in Bacup. The den allegedly had a full bar set-up, snooker table, football table and a large TV.

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Ten people were issued with tickets.

- Responded to a report of fighting following a party at an address in Poulton. While breaking up the incident an officer was assaulted.

A 36-year-old man from Poulton was issued with a Covid ticket and was also arrested on suspicion of assaulting and obstructing a police officer.

He has since been released under investigation.

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- Broke up a 30th birthday party being held at an address in Fulwood, with several people in attendance.

- Stopped a car containing five people from different addresses who claimed they had been from Blackburn to Bury to ‘inspect some upholstery’, and were en route back to Blackburn when stopped. However checks showed their car had not been anywhere near Bury that day.

- Responded to reports of screaming coming from an abandoned warehouse in Ribbleton, which turned out to be a meeting of people from a number of different households in different vehicles.

- Attended multiple house parties right across the county and dealt with several instances of people from different households travelling in cars together.

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Last weekend the penalty changed for those in attendance at house parties, meaning officers can now issue increased fines of £800 to anyone in attendance at a party of 15 people or more. Organisers of such events still face a £10,000 fine.

If you want to report a suspected breach of the regulations you can do it online at http://orlo.uk/9wrO9

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