Birmingham police break up 70 illegal parties in one night as city faces lockdown

Birmingham Police said they had to break up more than 70 illegal parties on Saturday night despite a rising number of coronavirus infections in the city.

A street rave with marquees and a DJ in the Northfield area of the city, and a large house party in the Quinton area, were among those to be dispersed by officers enforcing the government’s social distancing guidelines.

Birmingham Police tweeted: “Our officers are out tonight responding to calls about large gatherings.

“Please stick to government guidelines and keep safe. House party just dispersed in #Quinton lots of people complying with our advice tonight.

A street rave with marquees and a DJ in the Northfield area of Birmingham. (SWNS)
A street rave with marquees and a DJ in the Northfield area of Birmingham. (SWNS)
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“Everyone packed up and went home after we arrived – thank you for complying. Please understand we are still in a pandemic.

“Great work by our #OpReliant teams tonight who have responded to over 70 street and house parties and other unlicensed events so far.

“Most people understand why we are doing this – stay safe – don’t risk spreading the virus.”

Birmingham was placed on the government watch list this week after a sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

New COVID-19 cases in the city have been increasing for a few weeks, with 351 recorded in the week to 16 August – up from 256 the week before and 144 the week prior to that.

A large house party in the Quinton area was also peacefully broken up. (SWNS)
A large house party in the Quinton area was also peacefully broken up. (SWNS)

It has been designated as an "area of enhanced support" amid growing concerns it may have to enter a local lockdown.

Birmingham will see more testing and health secretary Matt Hancock is due to meet city leaders to discuss further steps.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street, who is attending the meeting with Hancock, said some people "had not been strict enough" in keeping up the basic steps.

"People across the region have made an enormous sacrifice since the start of lockdown to keep the virus at bay, but the virus is now returning and recent efforts to counter that have been insufficient,” he said.

The government announced on Sunday that fines of up to £10,000 for those organising illegal raves in England will come into force ahead of the bank holiday.

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People facilitating or organising illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gathering of 30 people or more will face a £10,000 penalty.

Participants can continue to be issued with fines of £100, while those who have already been fined will see the amount double on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: "These gatherings are dangerous and those who organise them show a blatant disregard for the safety of others.

"I am pleased the police have already stepped up their response and I am giving them the tools they need to continue to keep us safe.

"We will continue to crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law."

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