Police step in as huge crowds gather in London and Nottingham

6 December 2020, 10:58 | Updated: 6 December 2020, 14:32

Police positioned themselves outside Harrods (left), while large crowds danced in Nottingham city centre (right).
Police positioned themselves outside Harrods (left), while large crowds danced in Nottingham city centre (right). Picture: Snapchat

By Joe Cook

Police were called on Saturday after hundreds of young people gathered outside luxury store Harrods in London, ignoring social distancing rules.

The Metropolitan Police arrested four people after “reports of a large group of people attempting to enter a shop”.

Photos show police positioning themselves between the shop entrance and the large crowds, with officers the only ones wearing masks.

A spokesperson for the force said: “Four males were arrested in total - two for affray, one for breach of Covid regulations, and another for a public order offence and breach of Covid regulations.”

Read more: Shoppers flood Britain's high streets on first weekend after lockdown

The chaos outside Harrods comes as London faces warnings it could enter the highest Tier 3 restrictions, as a drop in Covid cases stalls.

On Friday, Professor Kevin Fenton, London director for Public Health England warned reductions in cases during the national lockdown “have shown signs of slowing in recent days”.

The public health chief told the Evening Standard this was “a stark reminder of just how delicate” the situation in London is” and asked shoppers to “remain vigilant and keep in mind that the virus is still present”.

Read more: Majority of public do not trust government to manage pandemic, survey finds

Crowds of people gathered in Covent Garden on Saturday evening.
Crowds of people also gathered in Covent Garden on Saturday evening. Picture: Getty

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Nottingham also saw packed crowds on Saturday, at the city’s Christmas Market.

Despite being in Tier 3, with all pubs and restaurants closed, outdoor market stalls had been permitted to keep trading.

However, on Sunday the market's organisers, Mellors Group, announced they would temporarily close the attraction due to "unprecedented high footfall".

Although a staggered entry system was in operation, many took to social media to share pictures of huge crowds at the market on Saturday.

Games designer Luke Brown, 24, from The Meadows area of Nottingham, said there were at least a couple of hundred people at the market, describing it as "crazy".

Nottingham police officers were pictured speaking with large groups of maskless young people outside the City Hall.

It is not known if any arrests were made.

The force have stepped up patrols and called on shoppers to "maintain social distancing and respect the measures that businesses have put in place to keep everyone safe during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic".

In a statement Mellors Group said: "The pent-up demand for a city centre offer was far higher than normal."

The temporary closure will allow the organisers "to monitor footfall in the city centre" and ensure "activities support residents and local businesses in an appropriate fashion".

Read more: NHS preparing for 'largest scale vaccination campaign' in UK history

LBC has contacted Nottingham City Council for comment.

Prior to the announcement of the temporary closure, the council said they hoped the market would "provide an environment for people to feel festive, support local businesses and, most importantly, stay safe and have a wonderful Christmas".

A spokesman told the Nottingham Post: "We are also mindful that the market will help support our city centre retail economy."

"Nottingham’s Covid rates have fallen dramatically in recent weeks precisely because of the ongoing efforts of those who live and work in our fantastic city.