The organiser of a wedding in north London is facing a £10,000 fine after police found hundreds of people packed together in breach of Covid regulations. This afternoon, an investigation has been launched to identify those others responsible for organising and who attended the wedding.
Police were called at 21:14hrs on Thursday, 21 January to reports of a large gathering at a school in Egerton Road, Stamford Hill. The group had gathered for a wedding and had taken a number of steps to mask their activity, covering up windows and closing gates.
Although initial calls suggested some 400 people had attended the wedding, it is now believed that approximately 150 people were in attendance.
The organiser of the event will be reported for consideration of a £10,000 fine while five other attendees were issued with £200 fixed penalty notices.
Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett, Central East BCU Commander, said: "This was a completely unacceptable breach of the law, which is very clearly in place to save lives and protect the NHS - an NHS that is under considerable pressure at a time when Covid 19 has killed nearly 100,000 people. This is a deadly and very dangerous disease. We can all see that and we must act responsibly.
“People across the country are making sacrifices by cancelling or postponing weddings and other celebrations and there is no excuse for this type of behaviour. My officers are working tirelessly with the community and we will not hesitate to take enforcement action if that is required to keep people safe.
“Given the seriousness of this breach and the number of people who were in attendance, I have asked my local officers to conduct a post incident investigation. This wedding broke the law and put lives in danger and I am determined to take action to identify all those responsible for organising the event and ensure they are held to account.”
Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville, said: “I am deeply disappointed that events of this nature are still happening in Stamford Hill, despite the very grave pandemic situation we find ourselves in, and the number of lives that have already been lost in the Charedi community and across the borough.
“We support the police in taking such rapid and firm action. We had already written to venues including this school reminding them of the regulations and are shocked that they are continuing to breach them. Whilst we appreciate the central role that weddings play in the life of all our communities the current regulations are there to protect everyone.
"We will be meeting with the Rabbinate and our community partners over the coming days to see how we can prevent further incidents of this nature.”
Chris Lovitt, Deputy Director of Public Health for the City of London and London Borough of Hackney Public Health Service, said: "Although there has been a welcome reduction in new cases of Covid-19 the number of people getting infected is still very high both across London and in communities throughout Hackney. The pressure on NHS services, especially intensive care, remains at very high levels.
To save lives and protect the NHS it is vital people continue to Stay at Home, follow the lockdown regulations and take up the Covid-19 vaccination when offered.”
You can read more about the Covid regulations here.