Hundreds of incidents reported as police break up NYE parties defying COVID rules

1 January 2021, 09:57 | Updated: 1 January 2021, 12:23

London would usually celebrate the new year with fireworks - but this time was cancelled
London would usually celebrate the new year with fireworks - but this time was cancelled. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Police across the country have responded to hundreds of incidents overnight as they broke up New Year's Eve parties and responded to others defying stay-at-home orders.

Nearly £74,000 worth of fines were handed out by Leicestershire police alone due to illegal gatherings and events; £18,000 more from Essex Police.

Hundreds of people were dispersed and equipment seized at a conservation-run church in Thorndon Park, where officers were subject to threats and things thrown at them. Three people were eventually arrested.

A further 100 people were dispersed at an abandoned warehouse in Brentwood, and another 100 at a house party in Sewardstonebury. The woman who threw the bash was fined £10,000.

Elsewhere, a party of 35 people was broken up in Birmingham, while 40 people were moved on from a gathering in Hull. Twelve people were fined in Brighton for breaking coronavirus rules and 13 were arrested in West Sussex - mostly for being drunk and disorderly.

Eight adults and several children were also moved from a property in Cleethorpes.

In southeast London, police say arrests were made after a large music event was shut down in Royal Docks. A £10,000 fine is also being considered.

Two teenage boys, aged 18 and 19, were stabbed on Edgware Road, west London, while a 17-year-old girl suffered a head injury after being hit with a bottle. None of the injuries are believed to be life-threatening nor life-changing.

It was a busy night for some police forces, despite large swathes of the country being under the strictest measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

The majority of the West Midlands, where nearly 300 incidents were reported to police by midnight, is currently under Tier 4, which bans household mixing and requires people to remain at home.

Earlier on Thursday, a hospitality group estimated there would be around 5,000 illegal parties held around the UK to bring in 2021.

West Midlands Chief Constable Dave Thompson said there were "shocking" breaches overnight with "very large parties".

He added on Twitter: "It's been a very different NYE. The absence of licensing has removed some demand. Sadly too many parties but worth remembering the majority have done the right thing."

READ MORE: Happy New Year! UK rings in 2021 amid Covid-limited celebrations

Despite this, Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said the capital's New Year's Eve was "quite quiet" in terms of what could have been.

He said there were some groups "who just won't take note of what is being said" and whom were dispersed, but overall people had listened to the rules.

"I think the public have really cottoned on that this is really serious, the position that we are in, and we did not see the numbers we thought we would," he told the BBC.

London is one of the areas that was placed into Tier 4 prior to Christmas, meaning millions were forced to roll-back and cancel their original festive plans.