Police shut down Barking wedding with more than 50 guests
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Thirty-seven people face fines for breaching Covid-19 restrictions after attending a wedding in Barking.
At 7.19pm on Saturday, December 5, police officers carrying out Covid-19 enforcement patrols discovered loud music and lights coming from an address in Creek Road.
They found more than 50 guests, including children, gathered inside.
It was immediately clear the gathering was a wedding, with the bride and groom at the head of the room on their own table with the guests sitting around them.
The venue had been decorated with elaborate flowers and white drapes around the whole function room, and members of staff had been employed to serve food.
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After identifying the organiser - who was officiating the ceremony - and the pastor of the church, police explained the gathering was in clear breach of the coronavirus regulations and immediately shut the wedding down.
Under the current Tier 2 Covid regulations, wedding ceremonies and sit-down receptions can only have up to 15 attendees.
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The explanation given by the bride and groom was that only 15 guests were invited but other people kept on turning up throughout the day with gifts then stayed for the event.
As a result of the breach, 37 people were reported for consideration of a fixed penalty notice.
The organiser is also facing a possible £10,000 fine under the coronavirus regulations.
East area BCU commander Detective Chief Superintendent Stephen Clayman said: “I appreciate that some may feel that this action is harsh given the circumstances, but we are still in the midst of a national health crisis and restrictions have been put in place to keep our families, friends and communities safe.
“This blatant flouting of the rules puts so many others at risk and is disrespectful to all those across London who have been following guidance and putting a lot of their own lives on hold to support the positive steps being made to reduce Covid infections.
“If you are planning on holding a large gathering, please think of the wider and long-term repercussions.
"It may affect the health of those who attend and if caught, it is likely that you will be reported.”