Hundreds caught at illegal rave with doors padlocked as £15k in fines handed out

Hundreds of partygoers were caught at an illegal rave in London on Saturday night, with more than £15,000 in fines handed out.

Organisers padlocked the doors from the inside to stop police getting inside the party at a railway arch, where 300 revellers were tightly packed.

Dozens of guests scaled fences at the back of the premises in Hackney, east London to escape.

Others forced open a gate to escape the officers, who came backed up with a police helicopter and dogs.

The Metropolitan Police raided the unlicensed music event at around 1.30am on Sunday.

Officers stopped 78 people and issued them with £200 fixed penalty notices for breaching coronavirus regulations by attending an illegal gathering.

The fines totalled £15,600.

The raid came as the UK’s grim Covid-19 death toll nears 100,000 after a further 1,348 deaths were reported on Saturday.

Figures show 97,329 have died within 28 days of testing positive for the virus.

Bodycam footage shows the moment police stormed the rave.

Chief Superintendent Roy Smith described the rave as a “serious and blatant breach” of the public health regulations and the law.

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He said: “Officers were forced, yet again, to put their own health at risk to deal with a large group of incredibly selfish people who were tightly packed together in a confined space – providing an ideal opportunity for this deadly virus to spread.

“Our frontline officers continue to police this public health crisis with compassion and professionalism but it is completely unacceptable they have to face such needless risks to their own health and to their families too.”

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He added: “Whilst we will always seek to engage and explain, the message to those who have a total disregard for the safety of others and breach the law so blatantly is clear, our officers will act swiftly and decisively.

“Not just organisers, but all those present at such illegal parties can expect to be issued a fine.”

Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett added: “This event was organised in advance and each one of the 300 people who chose to turn up did so knowing they were putting themselves, their loved ones and the wider community at risk.

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“I hope our response and the issuing of more than £15,000 in fines demonstrates that we will not tolerate blatant breaches of the rules that are in place to keep everyone safe.

“I’m proud of the officers who dealt with this crowd and all those who continue to work on the frontline at this unprecedented time.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned on Sunday the UK is a "long, long, long" way away from easing the current lockdown restrictions.

Case rates are still “incredibly high”, he added.

Official figures on Saturday show a further 33,552 cases were recorded.

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