Funeral organisers hit with £10,000 fines after 150 mourners attend

Two men have been fined £10,000 each for organising and directing a funeral attended by almost 150 people.

Bedfordshire Police fined a man in his 30s on Friday for the event, which took place the day before in Arlesey, near Stevenage, and breached current regulations allowing a maximum of 30 mourners at funerals.

The 41-year-old director of the funeral, from Mansfield, was also fined £10,000 for “not managing this event correctly or advising their clients of the rules”.

Chief Superintendent John Murphy, who is leading Bedfordshire Police’s response to coronavirus, said it is “disappointing” the event went ahead despite officers attempting to engage with the family beforehand.

He said: “We understand the past 10 months have been extremely difficult for everyone and that people need to mourn the loss of their loved ones with dignity and respect.

“However, public health remains our number one priority. The NHS is under significant pressure and coronavirus infection rates remain extremely high.

“During these unprecedented times, people have had to make huge sacrifices, and an event of this size shows a lack of respect for those who have been unable to attend the funerals of loved ones or say goodbye in a way that they would have wished to.”

He added that fines and enforcement are a “last resort” for police, but that they will take “firm action against those who brazenly decide to go against the guidelines outlined by the government and put a large number of people at risk”.