Man arrested and 26 people fined at illegal boat party in north east London

13 February 2021, 16:58

By Megan White

A man was arrested and 26 people were fined for breaching Covid-19 regulations after they gathered at an illegal boat party.

Metropolitan Police officers were called to several reports of a large number of people playing loud music on a boat on the River Lea between Tottenham Lock and Hackney, north-east London, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Officers located the party boat off Hackney Marshes at 4.20am and found around 30 people on board.

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A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of breaching coronavirus regulations and taken to custody at an east London police station.

The man was previously reported for consideration of a £10,000 fixed penalty notice for organising a similar gathering less than two weeks ago.

Police said 26 people were reported for the consideration of fixed penalty notices of £800 for breaking the rules designed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Chief Inspector Pete Shaw, in charge of Covid policing in east London, said: "It is incredibly disappointing that incidents of this nature continue when the vast majority of Londoners are doing the right thing and making huge sacrifices to stop the virus spreading.

"Each breach of the regulations not only presents a risk to the groups congregating but also to the officers who have to deal with it.

"To have an individual who has repeatedly ignored these regulations and who appears to have organised multiple events is dangerous and indicates a complete disregard for the safety of all involved."

Police also shut down a house party in Wandsworth, south-west London, on Thursday night.

Shortly before 11.40pm, officers entered the house to find between 30 to 40 people at the illegal gathering.

Two people were arrested - one female for breach of Covid regulations and one male for an unrelated offence - while fines were issued to the other people there.

Inspector Matt Ebbs, from south west command unit, said: "It is saddening to have to deal with an incident like this where large numbers of people have illegally gathered in breach of Covid regulations during a national lockdown.

"These individuals acted selfishly and risked spreading the virus which has already claimed countless lives across our city."

Figures from ACRO Criminal Records Office show police in England issued 196 of the £10,000 lockdown fines to organisers of gatherings of more than 30 people - including raves, parties and protests - between August and December last year.

Under lockdown rules in England, people are only allowed to leave home if they have a "reasonable excuse" to do so, such as shopping for essentials or permitted childcare.

Leaving home for recreational or leisure purposes, such as for a picnic or a social meeting, is not allowed.