COVID-19: Partygoers claimed they had not heard of the pandemic – as police reveal breaches over the weekend

Partygoers who claimed to be unaware of the global pandemic, a group hosting a gender reveal party and people attending an illegal car meet are among the coronavirus rule-breakers caught over the weekend.

Police shut down a party in Basingstoke, Hampshire, on Saturday but were told the hosts were “unaware of the global pandemic, as they never watch the news”.

Other gatherings discovered over the weekend include a gender reveal party in Townhill, South Wales, attended by people from various households on Sunday afternoon.

South Wales Police said it issued nine fixed penalty notices to attendees at the “unacceptable” and “irresponsible” party.

The force also said it had handed out eight fines to people from different households gathering in a garden shed which had been converted into a bar on Saturday.

The same evening, 49 people were reported for breaking coronavirus restrictions after attending an illegal car meet in Romford, east London.

Around 50 vehicles were spotted shortly before midnight, with officers arriving to find cars speeding around a roundabout and drivers mixing without any social distancing.

The Metropolitan Police described the meet as “selfish behaviour” and warned it is “more important than ever to follow the rules”.

In another breach of the rules, a man drove 100 miles from Luton to Devizes in Wiltshire for a McDonald’s.

The 34-year-old was fined £200 for the drive and, even more unluckily for him, the town does not have the fast food outlet.

Police in Greater Manchester revealed that between 3pm on Friday and 1pm Sunday they had issued 110 fixed penalty notices for coronavirus regulation breaches.

Among those were a flat party attended by 40 people and a driver who said they were travelling from Preston to Bolton – around 20 miles – to pick up a takeaway.

Crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse previously told Sky News that police will be quicker to enforce coronavirus rules because of the “severe” crisis the country faces.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick also warned that those who break the rules are “increasingly likely” to be given fines.

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