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Farm owner faces £10,000 fine after 'hundreds' attend wedding
28 September 2020, 20:07
A landowner has been fined £10,000 for breaching coronavirus regulations after reports that up to 300 people attended a wedding at a farm.
Police were called to the celebration on land at Scarecrow Farm, on Whitehall Road, New Farnley, Leeds, on Saturday - the same day that extra lockdown measures were imposed on the city.
Officers attended and found a large number of people and loud music around a marquee in woods, two industrial-sized generators, and vehicles continuing to enter the site.
A 49-year-old man was identified as being one of the landowners and was reported for summons for holding a gathering of more than 30 people in breach of coronavirus legislation.
From Monday 28 September, the limit of 30 for weddings was cut to 15.
West Yorkshire Police said they began receiving calls between 5pm and 6pm on Saturday reporting that between 100 and 300 people were attending the event, with one caller reporting that a fight had broken out.
Officers blocked the entrance to prevent anyone else from attending and everyone present had left the event by around 9.30pm, a force spokesman said.
Police continued to monitor the site overnight and returned on Sunday morning to seize the generators.
Chief Superintendent Damien Miller, Leeds District Commander, said: "This large-scale event was an absolutely blatant breach of the coronavirus restrictions that are in place to keep our communities safe from this ongoing threat to public health.
"It is even more appalling that it came only the day after widespread media coverage highlighting the increased restrictions in Leeds that have been put in place to address recent rises in the district's coronavirus rates.
"Everyone should know by now what is expected of them, and no-one can be in any doubt that large gatherings such as this are completely unacceptable.
"We are maintaining our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance in the first instance, but, as this latest incident demonstrates, we will not hesitate to make full use of the legislation to take firm action against those who put everyone at risk by flouting the regulations."
It comes after police in Scotland responded to at least 300 house parties over the weekend.
Officers made 14 arrests and issued 101 fines between Friday and Sunday.
Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: "There is no doubt that house parties or house gatherings are not permitted and there can be no excuse for arranging, attending, or hosting a house party.
"It is against the law. Where officers encounter blatant, wilful, or persistent breaches, we will take decisive action to enforce the law."