Blackburn venue 'named and shamed' after police shut down wedding reception with more than 100 guests
A wedding reception in Blackburn had to be shut down by police after more than 100 people were found celebrating together despite lockdown restrictions.
Police said yesterday's event (Sunday, August 16) at Waheed's Buffet and Banqueting Hall in Randal Street was a "significant breach" of restrictions and had put people "at risk" of coronavirus.
Speaking to BBC Radio Lancashire this morning (August 17), Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods made the decision to publicly 'name and shame' the venue which flouted the lockdown rules.
He said: "The vast bulk of those people were asked to leave, they were very compliant, but in effect that wedding reception was closed down and what remained was a small number of people.
"Today future action is going to be considered with the local authority to see what we can do with that premises to stop it happening again.
"For businesses we know it's hard but we will name and shame places that flout the regulations to this extent and there will be consequences."
No action has been taken against the venue at this stage, but DCC Woods said the incident at Waheed's would be referred to Blackburn with Darwen Council for further investigation.
The police chief said the weekend had been "relentless" for officers tasked with enforcing lockdown restrictions across Lancashire, including Preston and Burnley.
He said: "In a number of towns across Lancashire, we have had large gatherings that we've deployed to.
"So, 16th birthday parties with 70 people, children's birthday parties with 30-plus people, pre-wedding gatherings with 40-plus people...
"We've been to a number of licenced premises and taken action.
"It's not just this venue and it's not just Blackburn. We've had Hyndburn, Nelson, Blackburn, Preston, Burnley.
"My big plea today is: Look folks, particularly in east Lancs and Preston, if you carry on doing these sorts of things, there's only one way this is going to go. And this will be more regulations coming in.
"We are really trying our best as public servants, but this is just not helpful, because this will hit, and it has hit the news today.
"People in decision-making positions nationally will see this, and it's really not helpful. Please, take it seriously."
In a statement yesterday, Lancashire Police said: "Disappointing incident in Blackburn this evening.
"Officers have attended a report of a significant breach of Covid restrictions, and found over 100 guests at a wedding reception.
"This is a clear breach of both local and national restrictions that puts everyone attending at risk.
"Officers have engaged with the attendees and at police instruction the gathering was dispersed without further issue.
"Please work with us to help keep everyone safe by following the guidelines and restrictions."
Blackburn with Darwen imposed extra lockdown measures on July 14 following a worrying spike in coronavirus cases in the area.
A month later, the area still has one of the highest rates of new cases of coronavirus.
According to the latest Government figures, 97 people tested positive in Blackburn last week, with only Northampton and Oldham recording more new cases.