'Lockdown police' search for illegal speakeasies and even peer through letterboxes in 10pm curfew crackdown

"LOCKDOWN police" are searching for illegal speakeasies and even peering through letterboxes as part of the 10pm curfew crackdown.

Inspectors were seen walking around Soho in Central London last night.

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The 'City Inspectors' hired by Westminster council peeped through pub windows and letterboxes to ensure venues were following the new 10pm curfew.

Dan Barker spotted the inspectors and uploaded photos of them to Twitter.

He wrote: "Strange sight – City Inspectors, working through Soho, looking for illegal speakeasies open after the 10pm cutoff.”

He told Yahoo UK: "I'd guess I saw them looking into a dozen or so places – the area has quite a lot of pubs and bars.

“It took me a moment to process what they were doing at first. I saw them again 15 minutes or so later outside the Hippodrome, which is usually open 24/7.”

The Sun Online has contacted Westminster council for comment.

PM Boris Johnson announced the new measures to stem the spread of Covid-19 after a rise in infections across the UK, and to avoid a second national lockdown.

There are tougher enforcement powers for shutting down venues which don't force visitors to stay apart.

A 10pm curfew for all pubs, bars and hospitality venues in England started from last night – but it didn't stop Brits making the most of time at the bar.

Police patrolled night-time hotspots in London, and friends catching up over a beer in Soho were turfed out of pubs.

Dame Cressida Dick, the Met Police's Commissioner, joined PCs on foot patrol as the regulations began.

In Preston and Leeds, students celebrating their first term of university carried boxes of drinks home with them.  

Queues also built outside off-licences in Brighton as students continue having fun.

The PM said the 10pm curfew means "closing and not just calling for last orders".

The measure – which has been used already in some local lockdowns – will help prevent breaches of social distancing due to drinking booze.

Landlords will also have to collect details for track and trace, while before it was only guidance.

Venues which fail to follow the new rules could be shut down on the spot.

Mr Johnson has doubled the fine for anyone who fails to wear a face mask to £200 – and ordered people to wear them inside restaurants and pubs too.

Customers visiting hospitality venues – including pubs and restaurants – must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

It means that people will have to cover up when they go into their local or out for dinner – or when they need to use the loo.

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