Footage shows moment police storm illegal 'student party' as organiser hit with £10,000 fine in Ormskirk
Bodycam footage shows the moment police stormed an illegal house party in Ormskirk which had around "30 people" in attendance.
Police discovered around 30 people, believed to be students from Edge Hill University, celebrating a birthday party in Wigan Road at around 2.45am on Sunday (January 31).
Several people fled the scene as officers arrived at the scene, including some who reportedly jumped out of a window.
But the organiser of the party, a woman in her 20s, was located and will be issued with a £10,000 fixed penalty notice in due course, police said.
Officers also arrested a man who reportedly pushed a police officer while he was talking to partygoers.
Sam Taiwo, 23, of Bellhouse Road, Sheffield, has since been charged with assaulting a police officer and is due at Preston Magistrates’ Court on April 1.
Supt Karen Edwards, of Lancashire Police, said: "This party was a blatant breach of the current restrictions, which are in place to prevent the virus from spreading and to keep everybody safe. It is unbelievably selfish for anyone to believe they are exempt when so many law-abiding citizens have not seen their friends and family properly in almost a year.
"The people in attendance also gave no thought to the safety of the local community or the officers who had to attend to break up the gathering, not to mention the NHS which is under immense strain. It is also shocking that an officer reported being assaulted while dealing with the aftermath of the event."
As well as the organiser of the event, nine other partygoers were also tracked down and issued with £800 fixed penalty notices.
A spokesperson for Edge Hill University said: "We are fully co-operating and working closely with the police to establish the details.
"This is completely unacceptable behaviour and we will be taking appropriate action in line with our disciplinary procedures.
"We cannot pre-empt the outcome of these investigations or predict any final sanctions that might be imposed, however the University is able to exclude students in the most serious cases."
This weekend new Coronavirus regulations were introduced, enabling officers to issue increased fines to anybody attending a house party of 15 people or more.
“While we are continuing to spend most of our time dealing with crime and keeping people safe, we must stress that incidents like this take us away from that and take up officers’ valuable time. We have always taken a proportionate approach to breaches of the regulations – educating, explaining and engaging first, with enforcement as a last resort - but when people blatantly break the rules, as with this party, we have to take it seriously and take a firmer approach," Supt Karen Edwards added.
"As always, we would like to say a huge thank you to those who are following the law and are doing their bit to keep everybody safe. We all want lockdown to end, and for normality to resume, and we are grateful to the majority who are working with us to make that happen.”
Over the course of the weekend police received a total of 517 calls about Covid-19 breaches across the county, and 181 tickets were issued.
Officers said the majority of these incidents were house parties, checks on behalf of the Border Agency (for example, on people who have not self-isolated after arriving in the UK from abroad) and businesses not complying with the regulations.
If you want to report a suspected breach of the regulations you can do it online at doitonline.lancashire.police.uk
Chris Abbott, Temp Chief Insp for West Lancashire, said: "We have a tactical policing plan in place with additional officers who will be proactive in dealing with breaches of covid legislation.
"We will continue to enforce any breaches and work closely with our partners to take appropriate action."
It is thanks to our loyal readers that we can continue to provide the trusted news, analysis and insight that matters to you. For unlimited access to our unrivalled local reporting, you can take out a subscription here and help support the work of our dedicated team of reporters.