Manchester police break up almost 500 house parties as people flout lockdown rules

9 April 2020, 14:43

A map shows where police have needed to break up gatherings
A map shows where police have needed to break up gatherings. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Police in Greater Manchester are having to spend their time breaking up parties as thousands continue to ignore lockdown rules.

Since the lockdown was announced three weeks ago, officer have been called to almost 500 parties beng held in the area.

Between March 25 and April 7, officers had to deal with 166 street parties, 122 group gatherings for sporting activities and 173 gatherings in parks, the force said.

People in the UK have been explicitly told by the government to remain in their homes, not to socialise with family and friends in person, and only to travel for essential journeys.

The figures were released as Greater Manchester Police launched an appeal, involving various personalities in the region, urging people to stay at home over the forthcoming Easter weekend.

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People continue to break lockdown rules to sunbathe
People continue to break lockdown rules to sunbathe. Picture: PA

Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said: "We understand the desire people will have to spend time with family and friends over the Easter period.

"However it is vital that we follow the Government guidelines.

"We must do this to protect ourselves, our families, our communities and the NHS by preventing the spread of this highly contagious infection.

"I am incredibly grateful to all those who have provided their own homemade videos to lend their support to the #StayHomeSaveLives campaign because, as stressed by the Prime Minister, the single most important action we can take in fighting coronavirus is to stay at home in order to save lives.

"I would encourage everyone to enjoy themselves at home with their loved ones but please don't socialise beyond the immediate people that you live with.

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"Please don't participate in other social gatherings inside or outside, no matter how big or small."We are trying to engage, explain, and encourage everyone to follow the Government guidance.

"However where people do not comply with the guidelines, we will use the legislative powers.

"We hope that such actions will not be necessary and the public will work with us during this challenging time."