Two university students hit with £200 fines after illegal party

2 October 2020, 21:07 | Updated: 2 October 2020, 21:11

Two students have been fined following an illegal party at a halls of residence used by Coventry University
Two students have been fined following an illegal party at a halls of residence used by Coventry University. Picture: Getty
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Two university students have been slapped with a £200 fine following an illegal party at a halls of residence used by Coventry University.

West Midlands Police said up to 200 people attended the party at Arundel House in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Footage posted on social media showed party-goers dancing at the illegal late-night rave, despite tougher coronavirus restrictions being in place for England.

Officers were called to the accommodation block after being alerted to a "large gathering of students" in the common room.

The force has since tweeted: "We've fined two students £200 each following a party at accommodation used by #Coventry University students early on Tuesday morning.

"Social media footage showed dozens of people breaching social distancing guidelines at Arundel House in the city centre.

"We launched an investigation, in conjunction with the university, and we'll continue to work with others around the region to ensure their students are as safe as possible.

"Anyone thinking about organising a big gathering must think about the consequences."

Read more: 770 students at Northumbria University test positive for Covid-19

Earlier this week, Coventry University said it was "deeply concerned" and condemned what it called "blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines".

The institution warned students that anyone who breaches its own Covid-19 code of conduct could face disciplinary action.

Police said the halls' management team agreed to shut down some communal areas in the blocks and to increase security.

In August, forces were given greater powers to fine people, up to £10,000, who organised illegal parties and raves of more than 30 people.

It comes as thousands of students across the country have been trapped in their accommodation while self-isolating following coronavirus outbreaks at more than 50 universities.

Read more: UK's coronavirus R number rises to between 1.3 and 1.6

On Friday, 770 students at Northumbria University in Newcastle tested positive for Covid-19, of whom 78 are symptomatic.

A spokesperson for Northumbria University confirmed the outbreak early Friday evening and said all those affected are now self-isolating, along with anyone they have come into close contact with, such as flatmates.

The city of Coventry has seen its infection rate jump from 30 cases per 100,000 people two weeks ago to more than 70 per 100,000.

A spokeswoman for the university said: "We are aware of an incident in a private accommodation block which was captured in a video that has been shared online.

"We are deeply concerned by the scenes in the video and strongly condemn the blatant breaches of the rule of six and other guidelines as they risk the health of our students, colleagues and the communities in which we are located.

"We have introduced a code of conduct for students and shared this widely with them ahead of the weekend."

The spokeswoman added that the vast majority of students were "sensible" and taking the virus seriously.

A West Midlands Police spokesman said it was believed "around 200 people may have been present" in the common room.

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