Coronavirus: Leeds farm owner faces £10,000 fine after 'hundreds' gather for marquee wedding

September 28, 2020

A farm owner is facing a £10,000 fine after a large number of people attended a wedding at a marquee on his land.

West Yorkshire Police were called to Scarecrow Farm in New Farnley, near Leeds, on Saturday evening - where between 100 and 300 people were reported as being present.

One caller told police a fight had broken out at the event.

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Police attended and said they found "a large number of people and loud music around a marquee in the woods".

People were still entering the site when officers arrived and they had to block the entrance while they tracked down the farm's owners.

The police presence appeared to cause something of a mass exodus.

"While officers were working to identify the organisers, large numbers of people began to leave the site both on foot and in vehicles," added a police statement.

The wedding was fully cleared by 9.30pm, according to the force, and officers returned the following day to seize generators.

A 49-year-old man was given a summons for holding a gathering of more than 30 people, which breaches coronavirus regulations and carries a fine of up to £10,000.

From Monday 28 September, the limit of 30 for weddings was cut to 15.

Chief Superintendent 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.

"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."

Police in Scotland are also warning the public after officers responded to at least 300 house parties over the weekend.

The force made 14 arrests and issued 101 fines between Friday and Sunday.

Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: "There is no doubt that house parties or house gatherings are not permitted and there can be no excuse for arranging, attending, or hosting a house party.

"It is against the law.

"Where officers encounter blatant, wilful, or persistent breaches, we will take decisive action to enforce the law."

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