Police close down outdoor orchestra event and fine organisers £10,000

26 September 2020, 12:35 | Updated: 26 September 2020, 12:38

File photo: The event took place in Stanley Park, Liverpool
File photo: The event took place in Stanley Park, Liverpool. Picture: PA

Police broke up an outdoor orchestral performance of songs by US rapper and hip hop producer Dr Dre after several hundred concertgoers watched in "close proximity".

The organisers of Friday's event at the 19th century-built Isla Gladstone Conservatory in Liverpool's Stanley Park were fined £10,000 for the Covid-19 breach.

It was billed as "a combination of a traditional orchestra merging with a modern live hip-hop music event" in which 2001, the second album of Dr Dre, would be performed.

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Organisers No Strings Attached said the ticketed event would be operating under "strict Covid government guidelines" but Merseyside Police stepped in to close it down after receiving a report of concern at about 8.40pm.

The crowd of about 250 people was dispersed and licensing inquiries are under way, said police.

Superintendent Chris Gibson said: "The vast majority of people who live and work in Merseyside will absolutely despair that such an event could be contemplated in our current circumstances.

"There were people in close proximity which lays bare the organisers' blatant disregard for the serious health implications that this may now have for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

"We have additional policing resources across Merseyside and, as they have been since the start of the pandemic, our officers will be out engaging with the public, encouraging people to adhere to the new restrictions, explaining why it is so important and where necessary we will take enforcement action.

"The sacrifices that the vast majority of our communities continue to make are our only path out of this serious situation and we don't underestimate how difficult it is to keep going.

"But the people of Merseyside will have to come together, follow the new rules and act responsibly. It is simply the only way we can hope to return to some form of normality."

Another £10,000 fine was handed out by Greater Manchester Police to the organiser of a wedding party at a licensed premises in Longsight, Manchester, on Thursday night.

On arrival, police found about 70 people present who initially refused to leave the un-named premises which have been closed by the authorities for at least seven days subject to review.

Superintendent Chris Hill said: "This blatant disregard for public health is totally unacceptable and meant we had no alternative but to issue the maximum penalty for breaching the legislation on large gatherings.

"I hope this sends a clear message to both individuals and licensed premises that there is zero tolerance for the organisation of these kinds of events without permission from local authority, and we will respond in the necessary way to reports of such incidents."