Farm owner handed £10K COVID fine after fight breaks out at wedding with 300 guests

·2 mins read
A file image of Whitehall Road in New Farnley, where the COVID wedding breach happened on Saturday. (Google Street View)
A file image of Whitehall Road in New Farnley, where the COVID wedding breach happened on Saturday. (Google Street View)

A farm owner has been slapped with a £10,000 fine after throwing a wedding party attended by up to 300 people where a “fight broke out”.

Police were called to reports of a wedding celebration at a marquee at a farm in Leeds between 5pm and 6pm on Saturday.

It was reported that between 100 and 300 people were in attendance at Scarecrow Farm, in New Farnley, and that a fight had broken out.

Officers attended the area and confirmed there was a large number of people and loud music around a marquee in woods, in breach of COVID-19 regulations.

It came after the government announced a local lockdown in Leeds and surrounding areas in west Yorkshire on Friday.

Infection rates have soared to more than 100 cases per 100,000 people, with the new measures put in place to help curb the spread of the virus.

A number of vehicles were still entering the site and police were deployed to block the entrance and prevent anyone else attending.

While officers were working to identify the organisers, large numbers of people began to flock out of the site, with the event having fully dispersed by about 9.30pm.

Watch: People in England face £10,000 fines for not self-isolating

Officers continued to monitor the site overnight and returned on Sunday morning to seize two industrial-size generators that had been used for the event.

A 49-year-old man was identified as being one of the landowners and was reported for summons for holding a gathering of more than 30 people in breach of coronavirus legislation, which carries a £10,000 fine.

Leeds district commander, Ch Supt Damien Miller, said: “This large-scale event was an absolutely blatant breach of the coronavirus restrictions that are in place to keep our communities safe from this ongoing threat to public health.

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“It is even more appalling that it came only the day after widespread media coverage highlighting the increased restrictions in Leeds that have been put in place to address recent rises in the district’s coronavirus rates.

“Everyone should know by now what is expected of them, and no-one can be in any doubt that large gatherings such as this are completely unacceptable.

“We are maintaining our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance in the first instance, but, as this latest incident demonstrates, we will not hesitate to make full use of the legislation to take firm action against those who put everyone at risk by flouting the regulations.”

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