Theydon Bois: Man given £10k fine after unlicensed music event
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We have issued a £10,000 fine to a man involved in the holding of an unlicensed music event.
The penalty is available to us as part of the coronavirus health protection regulations and is in place to sanction those who police forces believe have played a part in the holding of events which breach restrictions.
When we arrived, we found about 200 people were attending the illegal event.
Although we were initially met with some hostility, the vast majority of those who attended the event were calm and compliant with our officers.
Whilst there we arrested a 38-year-old man, who was playing music to the crowd, on suspicion of breaching coronavirus rules.
The man, from Dunmow, has now been issued with a £10,000 penalty notice for holding or being involved in the holding of a gathering of more than 50 people, the largest number allowed under current coronavirus restrictions.
As part of our investigation we discovered a number of social media posts by the man which were clear advertisements of the event, which included information on how to get tickets.
We have also seized music equipment such as decks, speaker system and a generator used to power the event.
He has 28 days to pay the fine. If it is not paid, he will be summonsed to court.
Superintendent Nick Morris, who has led the Essex Police response to the pandemic, said:
“In this case, the individual made a conscious decision to be involved in a blatant breach of the regulations, and therefore it was appropriate for us to take enforcement action.
“This unlicensed event took place at a time which we now know to be a point where positive coronavirus cases were beginning to rise. Unfortunately, that trend has continued and events such as this are unhelpful given how hard the people of Essex have worked to suppress the virus in our county.
“We have taken a consistent approach to policing the coronavirus regulations since the beginning of the pandemic and that is to first engage with people, explain the regulations and encourage them to do the right thing.
“Only when those options have been exhausted will we consider enforcement action.”