Rule of six: police disperse wave of illegal parties before new limit

Dozens sent home and fines issued, with up to 70 people caught attending gathering in Mottram, Greater Manchester

Blue light on roof of an undercover police car.

Police have broken up more illegal gatherings.
Photograph: Andrew Aitchison/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

Police have dispersed illegal gatherings overnight as revellers make the most of the final weekend before “rule of six” coronavirus restrictions come into force.

Greater Manchester police said they closed down illegal gatherings at properties in Altrincham and Flixton on Saturday night, as well as a large gathering of around 70 people in Mottram.

Fixed penalty notices were issued at each of the incidents as current rules only allow groups of up to 30 to meet.

The interventions came a few hours after officers attended a gathering at an address in Stockport that had 45 people in attendance, and another address in north Manchester to which they had been called on two previous occasions.

Earlier, Nottinghamshire police issued a teenager with a £10,000 fine for hosting a house party in Lenton that saw more than 50 guests gather at a home on Harlaxton Drive. The force said if the 19-year-old man failed to pay or contested the fine he would appear before a court.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cooper, from Nottinghamshire police, warned anyone thinking of hosting parties ahead of the changes on Monday – when social gatherings in England will be limited to groups of six people both indoors and outdoors – to think again or face the consequences.

“We need to all remember we are very much still in the middle of a global pandemic and we all need to take responsibility for our actions.

“I want to send out a clear message to anyone who is thinking of deliberately hosting parties tonight or tomorrow night ahead of the rules changing to please not do this.

“We are not afraid to use the full powers we have and we will not tolerate those who are deliberately putting other people’s lives in danger.”