Kent Police was called at 4.25am on Sunday 30 May 2021 to a disturbance in Plantation Lane, Bearsted, where local residents had made reports of noise and a fight in the street. The address had been advertised online as a holiday rental property but was instead attended by more than 100 people who had travelled to the area for a pre-arranged party.
An investigation led officers to establish that the person who had made the booking to use the property was a 20-year-old woman from Milton Keynes. On Friday 25 June, her home address was visited by colleagues from Thames Valley Police where she was issued with a fixed penalty notice for holding a gathering of more than 30 people in a private dwelling, in breach of the current Covid regulations.
Assistant Chief Constable Nicola Faulconbridge said: ‘The majority of people in Kent have been making sacrifices to follow the Government’s roadmap and keep everyone safe and it is encouraging to see that hospital admissions remain fairly low, as a result. Amidst these good signs, however, we must all remain mindful that we are still in a pandemic and it remains against the law to organise and attend large indoor gatherings like house parties and unlicensed music events. In these situations, our officers will move quickly to enforcement and those found responsible will be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
‘It is understandable that with the recent easing of restrictions, warmer weather and international sporting events, people will want to start socialising again. However, we urge everyone to remember that regulations apply to large gatherings, to understand the serious risk the pandemic still poses and to avoid undermining everything we have collectively achieved so far. As we move towards the next key date in July, officers will continue to work alongside partner agencies to ensure compliance by remaining visible and accessible whilst policing the regulations in a sensible and proportionate way, but they will not hesitate to use their enforcement powers when necessary.’