Preston students fined £21,000 after police raid lockdown flat party
A raid on a student flat party in Preston has cost its 26 young revellers £800 each - with police handing out tickets worth a whopping £21,000 during the bust.
Officers raided the house party at Leighton Halls, in the heart of the city's UCLan campus, in the early hours of Saturday morning (February 13).
Inside the student accommodation, dozens of undergraduates were packed into one of the flats, were a party was in full swing - in blatant breach of coronavirus restrictions.
Police managed to detain 26 of the students, who were shocked to find they were being fined a hefty £800 each for attending the party.
In total, officers handed out fixed penalty notices worth £20,800.
Fines of £800 were brought into force in January for those attending house parties of more than 15 people, to help reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
These fines double for each repeat offence to a maximum of £6,400.
UCLan said it is taking the incident "very seriously" and is working with Lancashire Police to establish how the party at the privately-run halls was allowed to go ahead.
A UCLan spokesman said: "The safety of our students, our staff and our community is vital and we take breaches of the Government’s Covid-19 guidelines very seriously.
"The overwhelming majority of our students continue to respect the lockdown rules resulting in very low numbers of reported Covid-19 cases on campus.
"However, the recent student party in the privately-run Leighton Halls was unacceptable and both ourselves and the private provider are fully co-operating with the police to establish the details."
The UCLan incident was one of 362 reports of Lancashire lockdown breaches over the weekend, with police having to issue 124 tickets across the county for non-compliance with restrictions.
You can find a full round-up of the weekend's lockdown breaches - including a hot-tub party - here.