Hundreds escape locked-down Leicester and turn town into 'war zone'
Hundreds of revellers escape locked-down Leicester and invade sleepy market town for a night on the booze as pubs reopen – leaving streets looking like a ‘war zone’
- Leicester residents headed to Market Harborough and Nottingham for some drinking with city in Lockdown
- Group of football fans with fake IDs rumbled after cheering wildly when Jamie Vardy scored for City
- Met Police authorised Dispersal Order across E5, E8 and N16 postcodes after ‘unlicensed music events’
- Britons returned to the nation’s pubs and bars to celebrate at their favourite drinking establishments Sunday
- Punters were spotted arriving to beer gardens in Soho, London, to enjoy a pint before taking to the streets
A historic market town 15 miles south of Leicester was turned into a ‘war zone’ after it was invaded by hundreds of people from the locked down city desperate for a night out with friends, it was revealed today.
Leicestershire Police were forced to impose an urgent dispersal order on Market Harborough when alcohol-fuelled disorder erupted on Saturday night.
It came as a busload of Leicester City fans who went up to Nottingham to watch the match with Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon gave themselves away after cheering wildly as their hero Jamie Vardy scored his 100th Premier League goal. Locals raised the alarm and they fled before the police arrived, according to The Sun.
Police had already feared being overrun by out-of-town drinkers when pubs reopened on Saturday after Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby claimed that Leicester pub fans in search of a pint ‘could drive to Market Harborough’.
Leicester was put into a two week city-wide lockdown last week after a flood of new coronavirus cases emerged – three times higher than the next city – meaning that as the rest of England’s pubs reopened on July 4, those in Leicester will have to wait until July 18 at the earliest.
Electricity engineer Kevin Spicknall saw the trouble unfold from a cherry picker while working on ‘Super Saturday’ and described ‘carnage’ outside three pubs in the town as hundreds converged on the town centre.
He said: ‘Throughout the afternoon everything was lovely and settled. Then, at about 6pm, the pubs started to get really busy and it was noticeable they weren’t locals And from then on it became messy. There were fights, tussles with the police. One girl was beaten up by some people from Leicester. So the police decided to start clamping down and issued a dispersal order. It wasn’t extreme violence but there were angry young men acting like angry young men.
Leicestershire Police were forced to impose an urgent dispersal order on Market Harborough (pictured) when alcohol booze-fuelled disorder erupted on Saturday night.
Powers to send people away from the town centre were handed to police last night after ‘shameful and frightening’ scenes
Police had already feared being overrun by out-of-town drinkers when pubs reopened on Saturday after Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby claimed that Leicester pub fans in search of a pint ‘could drive to Market Harborough’
A group of Leicester fans took a coach to Nottingham to watch the match with Crystal Palace – but gave themselves up when they went wild when Jamie Vardy scored (pictured)
Mr Spicknall added: ‘The trains were busy but there were also lots of cars and taxis. I would say 200 to 300 arrived from 4pm onwards.
‘You could tell they were from Leicester – the accent is very different. It’s really noticeable to someone from Market Harborough when they speak to someone from Leicester. There were lots and lots of police – almost like you’d see at the football.’
Leicestershire Police were granted powers to force people to leave the town centre until 7am yesterday over the ‘shameful and frightening’ scenes.
A force spokesman said a man, 21, was detained on suspicion of assaulting another man, following reports a woman was attacked.
Locals condemned the thugs as ‘absolute disgraces’ and ‘absolutely outrageous’. One said on Twitter: ‘It was pandemonium last night in Harborough, with gangs of thugs out from Leicester. All pubs in Leicestershire should remain shut until the city opens. Harborough was like a war zone with all the lights and noise.’
Another added: ‘Half of Leicester was in Market Harborough for a pint.’
Pub giant Wetherspoons distanced itself from reports its Sugar Loaf pub was involved in the disturbances.
Inspector Siobhán Gorman revealed there had been ‘incidents’ in the centre of the town, tweeting: ‘A dispersal order is in place. People are now starting to leave.’
Locals condemned the thugs as ‘absolute disgraces’ and ‘absolutely outrageous’. One added: ‘Put us back into lockdown and keep the idiots at home!’
Despite temporary laws being imposed in Leicester – which has the UK’s highest Covid-19 rate – there was no enforceable ban on travel out of the city.
Transport police at Leicester station advised locals not to travel but had no powers to stop them.
Market Harborough is just a 15-minute direct train ride away or a 20 minute drive from Leicester.
Local Lib Dem councillor Phil Knowles described the scenes as ‘desperately sad and unnecessary’. Last week, Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby told The Times, Leicester locals wanting a pint ‘could drive to Market Harborough’.
Harborough council leader Cllr Phil King said the town was not a ‘rough and tumble’ place.
He said: ‘I am immensely disappointed – words fail me. The people who were involved in this trouble need to have a long hard look at themselves in the mirror today and ask themselves why they did it.’ The Tory politician added: ‘It’s simply not acceptable that a minority should go out, frighten other paying, innocent customers and give the police more trouble to deal with.
‘I do not want to see a repeat of this type of late-night behaviour in Market Harborough town centre – it will not be tolerated.
‘These pillocks are putting it all at risk as we try to rebuild and re-boost our town centre economy.’
A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: ‘A Section 34 Dispersal Order was authorised giving officers the power to require people to leave the area to reduce the risk of causing harassment, alarm or distress to the local community and to also reduce the risk of any further public disorder. ‘The order was in place between 11pm and 7am on Sunday.
‘Working with local licensees once the order was put in place the majority of those gathered left the area peacefully.
‘To prevent any further incidents of disruption a number of premises made the decision to close their doors early.
‘We continue to work closely with partners, business owners and the local community to address concerns around anti-social behaviour in the area
‘Reports were received of a woman having been assaulted in the town last night and enquiries are continuing into the allegation.
‘As a result of these enquiries a 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault after a man was subsequently injured. The suspect remains in police custody.’
Friends embrace in the streets of Soho, London on the second day since lockdown restrictions were eased in England
Sunday night saw revellers carry on from ‘Super Saturday’ – during which millions of pints were thought to have been poured
This is the scene a rave in Hackney, east London last night as people held illegal raves all over the country this weekend
Police were called to the public park in east London – but it is not clear if there were any arrests here or at another rave in the borough, which saw the area commander impose a dispersal order to try to break them up
In nearby Narborough, Leics, a pub shut down voluntarily after a man was injured in a bar brawl.
A 35-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of affray after another man suffered neck injuries at The Copt Oak.
Police shut down raves across London last night as Britons freed from lockdown restrictions cast social distancing aside and partied into the early hours.
For a second successive night pubs and bars were rammed – with parks and other open areas also busy with revellers unconcerned about a second wave of coronavirus.
Large areas of northeast London were put under ‘dispersal orders’ by police as they battled to shut down a series of illegal music events.
But elsewhere in England many drinkers took advantage of the lockdown easing to enjoy a pint or a glass of wine with friends down the the pub for the first time in almost four months.
Footage from Millfields Park in Hackney captured dozens of partygoers as they gathered for a late-night rave in the capital on Sunday, with groups seen drinking while wearing green and purple flashing headphones.
In a second clip, police officers stood watch inside Hackney Downs Park – where hundreds of revellers had joined together to party despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The northeast London shutdown came on the second day of widespread post-lockdown boozing, after thousands seized the opportunity to celebrate eased restrictions on what was dubbed ‘Super Saturday’.
Social distancing was in tatters after drunkenness, brawls and vomiting returned to the country’s nightlife – when millions of pints were poured on the long-awaited night of heavy drinking.
Britons had continued the previous night’s revelry on Sunday and flocked to beer gardens, bars and the streets of Soho, London to enjoy a much-anticipated pint after new regulations allowing pubs in England to reopen came into force.
Many pubs and bars saw restrained scenes with drunkers sticking to the ‘new normal’ social distancing rules and police laid the blame for rowdiness with people who couldn’t handle their alcohol.
Police Federation Chairman John Apter recalled dealing with ‘naked men, happy drunks, angry drunks, fights and more angry drunks’ while on duty in Southampton on Saturday.
‘What was crystal clear is that drunk people can’t/won’t socially distance,’ he Tweeted.
Police were forced to shut down a huge area of northeast London last night (pictured) after hundreds flocked to illegal silent discos with no social distancing in sight
Footage from Hackney captures dozens of partygoers as they gather for late-night rave in the capital on Sunday, with groups seen drinking while wearing green and purple flashing headphones (pictured)
In another clip, police officers are seen standing to the side of an open space in which hundreds of revellers had gathered amid the coronavirus pandemic
Party goers drink from plastic cups as they dance near to speakers in the middle of a park in Hackney, northeast London
Others opted to gather in parks across the capital, forcing authorities to shut down huge areas of northeast London ‘to prevent disorder’.
In a statement last night, Hackney Police said: ‘A Section 35 Dispersal Order has been authorised for the entirety of Millfields Park E5 by Inspector Norman due to an unlicensed music event.
‘This dispersal is in place in order to prevent disorder.
Pictured: The area in northeast London shut down by Hackney Police last night after a series of ‘unlicensed music events’
‘Due to a number of unlicensed music events in the areas of Hackney Downs park and Cecilia Road, a Sec 35 dispersal zone has been authorised by Insp Weeks from 21:20 05/07/20 til 11:00 06/07/20 within the E5, E8 and N16 postcodes.’
Eager Britons were last night spotted in close proximity as they sat outside bars and pubs in London to continue a weekend-long celebration of the return of pubs.
Others were seated at socially-distanced tables as they enjoyed a pint and shots outside bars in Manchester.
And in Leighton-on-Sea, Essex, Britons were pictured spilling out of The Crooked Billet with queues stretching around the street – as the nearby Peterboat pub was packed to the brim.
Elsewhere, in Poole Quay, Dorset, groups of people gathered outside the popular Poole Arms to enjoy a drink with their families and friends.
In Liverpool, football fans enjoyed a drink outside Hotel Anfield before watching Liverpool vs Aston Villa.
Others stood and chatted on the streets of central London as thousands of Britons flocked to town centres for the first time in months
People wait in a queue to enter a bar outside the Prince Edward Theatre in London, which has been quiet since March
Tables were distanced with metal barriers as pubs, bars and restaurants attempted to abide by social distancing protocol
Friends gather in Soho today on the second afternoon pubs and bars were open to revellers amid the coronavirus pandemic
The coronavirus lockdown was eased on Saturday, allowing Britons to return to pubs, restaurants and bars in England
Dozens of Britons flocked to the Peterboat pub at Leigh-on-Sea, Essex today to celebrate the lifting of coronavirus restrictions
At the Crooked Billet pub, Su Parker, Rob Boden, Selby Biggs and Adam Brewster enjoyed 12 pints of lager on the second day of eased restrictions
Queues spilled from The Crooked Billet and snaked down the street as dozens of Britons headed out for a pint this afternoon
Streets in Soho, London grew crowded this afternoon as Britons returned to pubs and bars on the second day of post-lockdown boozing
Groups of Britons were seen strolling through Chinatown in London’s West End after restrictions eased on restrautants and pubs this weekend
Pub-goers enjoy a drink outside a pub in Soho, London, today as hundreds flock to the nation’s drinking establishments following a night of heavy drinking
Groups of people congregate outside All Bar One in Leicester Square, London, today as Britons continue to enjoy their new freedoms
Outside one restaurant in Soho, London, people sit outside and the a few pints and the sunshine after months in lockdown
A group of friends decided to take a shots of tequila and enjoy a few pints as they begin their night out in Manchester City centre today
The group of sit outside with their pints of beers and their shots of tequila and pints after pubs were finally allowed to open in Manchester last night
Britons are seen enjoying a pint outside the Prince Harry pub in Windsor today as the crowds died down from Super Saturday
Despite the chaos on Saturday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock hailed the biggest easing of restrictions so-far a ‘success’ and claimed the drinkers had ‘very, very, largely acted responsibly’.
Speaking to Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Hancock said: ‘Very very largely people have acted responsibly and this balanced message is so important. People should enjoy summer safely and of course the emphasis is both on enjoy and safely.
‘Of course everybody knows that we are doing everything we can to get back to normal but only to do that when it’s safe to do so.
‘Overall I’m pleased with what happened yesterday. It was really good to see people out and about and largely, very largely, social distancing.’
He added: ‘My overriding message to people is yes enjoy the new freedoms but do so safely following social distancing. It is so important and even the basics like washing you hands.’
On Sunday, a senior police officer predicted a fresh coronavirus onslaught after being confronted with ‘pub fights, drunken violence and drunken, drugged-up fools’ on the previous night.
People walk past the Arts Theatre in Soho, London, today after pubs and bars across England were finally able to open on July 4
Michelle Kerr, landlady at the Poole Arms in Pool Quay, Dorset, walks outside with a tray of drinks as cafes and pubs reopen this weekend
A group of pub-goers enjoy a drink outside the Poole Arms in Dorest today as hundreds descend upon the nation’s drinking venues
The Critchell family enjoy their first pint out at the Poole Arms on a bustling Poole Quay as cafes and pubs finally begin to reopen
People sit at tables and try to follow social distancing measures as they enjoy a drink at the popular drinking establishment All All Bar One in London
In Liverpool, a group of football fans gather to watch Liverpool v Aston Villa at Hotel Anfield after months in lockdown
A bartender wears a protective face visor as she pulls a pint for customers at Hotel Anfield before the match between Liverpool and Aston Villa
Revellers post for the camera as they sit down outside a pub in Soho, London, today to begin their night out in the capital
Crowds of people sit outside bars and pubs in Soho just a day after the government allowed drinking establishments in the country to open
Britons enjoy the newly reopened pubs in Brighton on the second day lockdown restrictions were eased across the nation
One man is seen wearing a face shield as he works in a packed Brighton on Sunday, as dozens rushed to pubs and eateries
Police Sergeant Richard Cooke of the West Midlands force tweeted: ‘Just got home after a long shift late shift peppered with pub fights, domestic violence & drunken drugged up fools. If today was anything to go by the second wave won’t be long in the making!’
But Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning hailed the biggest easing of restrictions a ‘success’ and claimed the drinkers had ‘very, very, largely acted responsibly’.
Yet the government’s one-metre plus rule quickly evaporated in the most vibrant areas last night such as London’s Soho, which became ‘out of control’ as thousands spilled on to the streets.
Pub goers were also seen stationed outside The Victory pub in East Sussex as Briton regained some sense of normality
Others enjoyed a pint on picnic tables near the beach in Brighton today after lockdown was lifted across much of Britain
Women walk past signs reading ‘Please no hugs, no handshakes during coronavirus season’ in Battersea, London today
Others returned to Covent Garden, London for a second day at bars, restaurants and pubs after the easing of restrictions
Central London (pictured today) had been packed last night on the first evening pubs and bars reopened to the public
Two men drink pints at the newly reopened Lady Hamilton Pub in Kentish Town, London on a warm Sunday afternoon
Pubs, restaurants, places of worship, hairdressers and other businesses reopened their doors across England on ‘Super Saturday’ after more than three months of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic
In Hyde Park, Londoners enjoyed the warm weather in deck chairs which were today brought out for the first time since coronavirus lockdown was announced in March
In Manchester, Britons didn’t let the rain put them off enjoying a pint with their friends as they headed to a much quieter city centre
A couple is pictured outside the FLOK Bar in Manchester to enjoy a quiet drink as the crowds died down from ‘Super Saturday’
Social distancing markers are seen outside Cane and Grain in the northern quarter of Manchester this afternoon
Britons huddled under umbrellas as they headed out for a pint on the second day pubs could reopen across the nation
Customers are seen making contactless payments in Manchester as staff wear face masks and gloves this afternoon
Experts said Britons sank up to 15million pints yesterday, as revellers shrugged off the miserable weather and headed to pubs and bars to enjoy their first taste of a draught pint since late March.
The government has come under fire for lifting restrictions too early while Leicester is still battling its own local outbreak, with many opting to stay at home for fear of driving a second nationwide wave.
While much of the evening passed peacefully, paramedics were seen tending to inebriated revellers collapsed on the floor, while other pub-goers were seen vomiting in the street.
A massive brawl erupted at the Three Tuns pub in Tamworth shortly after the first pints were pulled. Fists flew as about a dozen men scuffled in the beer garden to the horror of witnesses.
In London, Metropolitan Police Commander Bas Javid some venues decided to shut early, yet he said that the night went relatively smoothly.
The police chief said: ‘The majority of the public complied with social distancing guidelines and remained vigilant. While some areas were notably busy such as Soho and Portobello Road, we are pleased there were no significant issues or incidents in the capital.
‘A small number of premises decided to close early following advice from officers due to crowding and social distancing issues and we thank them for their responsible actions.’
At the Prince Harry pub in Windsor, Britons enjoyed a pint on tables in the street as the establishment kept to social distancing guidelines
The pub was able to open from Saturday morning in line with new coronavirus guidelines, which also saw bars and restaurants open
Others took to pubic spaces in Soho, London to enjoy the warmer weather amid loosened coronavirus guidelines today
Elsewhere in London, seating spilled into the street in line with social distancing measures as Britons stepped out today
Others were seen sitting down for a meal at the Koha restaurant and bar in Soho, London this afternoon
Londoners are seen outside a pub in Clapham today, after lockdown restrictions were eased on ‘Super Saturday’
A sign outside The Railway pub today informed drinkers they would need to book a table before being served a pint
Elsewhere, a group of friends enjoyed one of their first drinks together in months outside another pub in Clapham
Britons were also seen enjoying a meal in Clapham today after restaurants also opened for business on ‘Super Saturday’
Britons sat outside The Railway in Clapham, London in spaced out picnic tables to enjoy a pint this afternoon
Groups of Londoners were seen soaking up the sun in Wimbledon Common this afternoon after the Government eased restrictions
Britons were sat in groups as they attempted to abide by social distancing measures while outdoors in the capital today
Other Britons lined up outside Mitchells Barbers in Chelmsford, Essex as hairdressers were also permitted to open from yesterday
He urged the public not to throw away the past three months in wresting down the virus by risking a second wave
Forces across the country have reported a busy night for constables, with police in Devon and Cornwall saying they received more than 1,000 reports last night, most of which were ‘drink-related’.
The force tweeted last night: ‘We have just topped 1000 police logs for today with two hours left to go. The majority of reports this evening have been linked to drink related disorder and anti-social behaviour.’
Officers in West Yorkshire were called to a ‘safety concern’ at a village pub near Bradford, while crowds flocked to a rave in Leeds’ Hyde Park.
As drink flowed and tempers flared, four people were arrested in Brentwood High Street, Essex, following a ‘disturbance’, while in Nottinghamshire, some pub owners took the decision to close up after incidents of anti-social behaviour.
LONDON: Adherence to the government’s one-metre plus rule quickly evaporated in the most vibrant areas, such as Soho in London which became ‘out of control’ as thousands spilled on to the streets
LEEDS: A reveller in Leeds curled up on the pavement is tended to by the police as the celebrations for the reopening of pubs continued well into the night
Cleveland Police broke up an ‘illegal rave’ in a forest on Teesside, where they drove out more than 200 people with a police helicopter.
West Midlands police made four arrests connected to pubs and bars and said they had very few calls regarding any trouble – although received a high number of fight-related 999 calls, while also seeing a spike in domestic abuse reports.
And worryingly in Leicester, where a local lockdown has been enforced due to a spike in coronavirus cases, police called on ‘more officers on duty than on New Year’s Eve’ – to prevent people attempting to sneak out of the city in order to reach the pubs outside the lockdown zone.
Down the road, in picturesque Market Harborough, which is not part of the local lockdown zone, police last night authorised special powers to disperse groups of people following anti-social behaviour and ‘low-level disorder’.
In Southampton, Mr Apter said: ‘It was an incredibly busy night, we all had our fingers crossed, which is not how we should be policing… The vast majority was sensible… It wasn’t the carnage so many of us predicted.
He added: ‘There were some pockets of resistance and when we were trying to educate people, we did get some push-back, some abuse, cameras thrust in our faces telling us what they thought of us.’
In Soho, police watched the crowds from boxed-in raised platforms, but did little to disperse the crowds.
Rafal Liszewski, 36, a store manager at Clonezone on Soho’s Old Compton Street in London described crowds in the area on Saturday night after pubs were allowed to trad again as ‘out of control’.
‘Saturday started very easy. But you could feel tension in the air.
‘Around 1pm crowds started to arrive… quickly everything got out of control and by 8-9 pm it was a proper street party with people dancing and drinking.
‘Barely anyone was wearing masks and nobody respected social distancing… to be honest with that many people on one street it was physically impossible.’
Mr Liszewski, who is originally from Poland but now lives in Finchley, estimated there was between two and three thousand people on the street but his shop was only allowing seven customers at a time.
Rubbish piled up on the streets of Soho as drinkers continued to party into the early hours of Sunday.
Marc Foley-Comer said the bars he went to in Soho on Saturday night had ‘excellent safety measures’ and social distancing in place, but the scenes outside resembled London’s Pride celebrations.
Bar Soho in Soho, London, was one of the popular destinations for revellers, who danced in the streets last night
Crowds gathered in their numbers in Soho in London, where there are a number of bars on each side of the street
‘It was packed… it was like it was Pride – and very chaotic and people were pretty drunk but the police were en-force and doing a good job.
‘We decided to leave as it was too busy and too risky still… there was no social distancing.’
The guidance from the government allows groups from two households to gather inside pubs while maintaining one metre of social distancing from others, and groups of up to six from different households to gather outdoors.
The Prime Minister urged restraint and ahead of the lockdown easing warned people not to undo the hard work in wrestling down the infection rate.
Health experts fear Britain is still at risk of a second wave of coronavirus with the R number between 0.7 and 0.9 for the whole country and feared to be creeping above one in London.
A further 67 new coronavirus deaths were announced yesterday – the lowest Saturday tally since lockdown began, bringing the UK’s total deaths from Covid-19 to 44,198 – and there were 624 further positive coronavirus cases.
Sir David King, the government’s former chief scientific adviser who has set up a rival Independent Sage, this morning said he believed ministers were lifting restrictions too soon.
He forecast that another 27,000 people could die of Covid-19 in the UK with the current rate of lockdown easing.
He told Sky News: ‘Britain as a whole should demand zero Covid UK. 27,000 excess deaths are likely between now and next April.
‘If the expectation by the chief medical officer that he would be surprised and delighted if the UK is in the same place next spring then we would still have about 2/3000 new infections each day, then the amount of deaths would follow that.
He added: ‘This is almost entirely preventable, unacceptable it’s immoral, it is best for economic recovery. The quicker we can can get down to zero Covid, the quicker we can get economic opening across the UK.
‘It looks as if the policy is to maintain the current level of about 3,000 new infections a day across England while Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland are heading towards net zero.’
Speaking after the pubs reopened yesterday, he said: ‘I fully understand publicans who want to be getting back to full operation, but I would also advise only open that area of your pub where people can be outdoors and serve people outdoors where they’re not brushing up against each other
‘There are means of achieving these objectives (net zero cases) but we have to be patient and if we’re not patient because it’s not just a second wave, because if it bumps along at 3,000 a day, that’s what produces the 27,000 deaths.’
Confronted with pictures of packed streets today, critics of the lockdown easing flooded Twitter this morning with anger directed at ministers.
But others were pleased pubs were finally allowed to pull in punters after lying dormant for 104 days in lockdown.
The hospitality sector was among the hardest hit by the draconian restrictions as landlords were starved of income while in some cases still paying lofty overheads.
Drinkers were hit with hiked prices for beer, wine, cider and spirits as pub chains, including Wetherspoons, desperately tried to make up for lost business.
To breathe life back into the UK’s flagging trade and wider economy, the PM last month announced that pubs, cafes, restaurants, cinemas and hairdressers could reopen on July 4 – which was instantly dubbed Independence Day and later morphed to become Super Saturday.
Only one chain of cinemas, Showcase, opened yesterday, but hundreds of hairdressers welcomed back customers with strict social distancing measures.
The lifting of curbs was the biggest leap out of lockdown since the nation shuttered on March 26, but the government insists it is acting cautiously.
Gyms, nail bars and nightclubs remain closed, sparking criticism from frustrated fitness junkies in particular who claim the dangers of working out are far less than going to the pub.
It is unclear when these venues will be allowed to reopen, but the PM has said gyms should be able to open in ‘a couple of weeks’.
Among the first on the booze yesterday was Andrew Slawinski, 54, who return to the Toll Gate Wetherspoons in Turnpike Lane, north London. He said his Guinness was ‘gorgeous’, adding: ‘It’s like winning the [Premier] League.’
Ben Clark and his friends Curtis and Connor, were waiting for The Briar Rose in the heart of Birmingham to reopen from 7am.
The Geordie trio, covered in dust following a night shift working on a building site in the city, were ‘watching’ the pubs since 4am, eager to get their hands on the first pint since lockdown.
The mates wanted to grab a ‘well-deserved’ San Miguel and English breakfast from the Bennett’s Hill boozer.
Mr Clark said: ‘We’ve just finished night shifts, I’ve been watching the pubs since 4am this morning, when we came and reserved our tables ready for the pub opening ready for a pint of San Miguel and a breakfast.
‘I’m a big fan of Wetherspoons have been waiting for it since the first day of lockdown.’
Martin Sherrell, 63, pitched up at a Wetherspoons in Bristol at 8am and wolfed down a breakfast – before ordering alcohol as allowed at 9am.
He said he usually visits The Commercial Rooms but, as it was shut, was forced to relocate to The Berkeley with his two friends.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage boasted he was the first inside his local boozer, but quickly saw himself fending off accusations of flouting social distancing rules
He denied breaking lockdown less than two weeks after he returned from a trip to the US – but the leader of the Lib Dems reported him to police.
Mr Farage, 56, said he returned from America two weeks ago and after quarantining tested negative for the virus.
The Brexit Party leader proudly posted a picture online of himself at lunchtime today holding a pint and declaring ’12 o’clock, first customer in. Love it.’
But critics weighed in on the former UKIP leader and said he had been in America on June 20, questioning how he could already be out of quarantineThe row took a surprising turn when acting Lib Dem leader Ed Davey reported him to Kent Police and asked them to investigate.
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