Moment police bust illegal London shisha bar with 29 lockdown flouters inside – as Met vows to swiftly shut down ‘reckless and dangerous’ house parties and illegal raves this weekend
- Police found shisha bar operating out of a unit on an industrial estate in Southall
- Met officers found 29 people inside, one of whom tried to run out of the unit
- Scotland Yard said the gathering was a potential breeding ground for the virus
- In the first lockdown, Met Police gave out 4.5 fines a day compared to 300 now
Staggering footage has captured the moment officers found 29 people enjoying an evening in a shisha bar in spite of the country’s spiralling death toll.
The Metropolitan Police has released bodycam video showing officers bust open the bar, which was operating out of a unit on an industrial estate in Southall, west London.
One of the revellers attempted to run away as officers found them on Monday night and the owner now faces paying a fine.
Parties, car meets and snowball fights still happen as people ignore lockdown
On Wednesday night, Met officers broke up a party at an industrial unit in Southwark, south London, where they found at least 20 revellers on top of the building. Local residents cheered when police arrived.
Two people were arrested, one on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon, the other for suspected drug dealing. Five people were handed fines for breaching Covid restrictions.
An illegal house party attended by up to 100 people in South Mimms, Hertfordshire, was also broken up by police.
Police seized alcohol and music equipment from the organiser. One officer was hurt while trying to disperse the crowd and one person was arrested. At least 12 people were handed fines.
And over the last week, the Met responded to a bar which was still open and serving customers. In Brent, 14 people attended a car meet, intentionally breaking the rules and potentially spreading the virus.
In both of these cases, fixed penalty notices were issued by officers.
And around 200 youngsters took part in a snowball fight in Hyde Park, Leeds, on Thursday afternoon.
This comes as Scotland Yard revealed it was Britain’s handing out a record 300 penalties a day – with more Covid rule breakers fined in the past few weeks than in the first nine months of the pandemic.
Scotland Yard said: ‘On Monday evening, officers attended an address on Scotts Road in Southall where a shisha bar was operating out of a unit on an industrial estate.
‘Officers were called to the unit following concern from members of the public and after arriving on scene, found 29 people inside, one of whom tried to run out of the unit as police entered.
‘The gathering was not only a potential breeding ground for the virus, but the poor management of the shisha pipes inside presented a fire hazard.
‘The owner of the property has been reported for consideration of a fixed penalty notice, police continue to monitor the area for additional breaches.’
The Met has now issued a warning to people to abide by lockdown rules over the weekend or face hefty fines.
The force said officers would be ‘responding swiftly to reckless breaches’ such as house parties, unlicensed music events or other dangerous gatherings.
Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House yesterday revealed the extent of the crackdown as it emerged that officers are doling out 66 times more fines every day than during the first lockdown.
When the restrictions were first announced, the Metropolitan Police dished out 4.5 fines a day on average between March 27 and April 13.
In comparison, more than 300 people a day are now getting fixed penalty notices, with almost 4,000 penalties handed out so far in London.
Sir Steve said officers were ‘accelerating more quickly’ to enforcement rather than listening to excuses from Covid rule breakers this time around.
‘We have seen a significant increase in the amount of fixed penalty notices that were issued,’ he said. ‘The number is increasing quite rapidly day on day. I wish it weren’t so. I wish everybody was abiding by the regulations.’
Scotland Yard Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House yesterday revealed the extent of the crackdown as it emerged that officers are doling out 66 times more fines every day than during the first lockdown. Pictured: Police in Clapham Common, London
Between March 27 and December 20, the force handed out 1,761 penalties for breaking the rules, including for being outside home without a reasonable excuse, not wearing a mask or organising a mass gathering.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has told police they can question people if they find them sitting on park benches.
Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has ordered officers to take a more hardline approach during this lockdown, saying it is ‘preposterous’ to suggest that the public would be unaware of the need to follow the rules.
Yesterday her deputy said it was clear the public were not taking the rules as seriously this time around and the police had been asked by the Government to step up enforcement.
Others were seen on skis and snowboards as snow settled in West Yorkshire on Thursday
Sir Steve described his frustration at anti-lockdown protests, citing a demonstration in Clapham, south London, last week where protesters were heckled by the public.
‘As they were walking down Clapham High Street members of the public who were legitimately out started shouting at them and telling them they were a bunch of idiots,’ he said. ‘I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with that view.’
He also told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that his officers urgently needed vaccines and the force were happy to vaccinate their own officers and staff.
Around 1,700 Metropolitan Police staff are off sick or self-isolating.
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