Moment cops raid funeral wake of 200 guests for breaking coronavirus rules before hotel manager fined £10K
THIS is the Moment cops raided a funeral wake of 200 guests for breaking coronavirus rules – before a hotel manager was fined £10,000.
Body-cam footage shows crowds of people gathered in the Castle Bromwich Hall Hotel in Solihull as West Midlands Police stormed the event.
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Officers can be seen walking through a packed marquee before demanding to speak to the hotel manager at reception.
They are then told by members of staff that the licence holder is not on site.
Cops entered the hotel grounds after receiving nine calls complaining about the mass gathering and loud music on September 25.
One officer can be heard saying: "Is he aware you're just going to lose your licence as a business? With the numbers I don't know whether he's not listening or he doesn't care or he's not getting it.
"Ultimately we're not coming round and shouting at everyone, because it's an issue that I need to have a chat with the business about, more than yourselves."
Under the latest government rules, anyone who organises a mass gathering can be fined up to £10,000.
In this instance, the manager was slapped with the maximum penalty and the venue was banned from hosting any events until January.
The gathering was the latest in a number of events at the Solihull hotel which breached legislation, according to cops.
The manager had been warned about previous breaches but continued to hold events with no measures in place for track and trace, social distancing or table service.
On Monday, West Midlands Police asked for an immediate suspension of the hotel owner's personal licence pending a full licensing review with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
A full hearing is due to take place later this month.
Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Claire Bell, who is leading the force's response to coronavirus, said: "We engaged with all those at the funeral gathering and explained why they needed to leave which they duly did.
"It is the hotel manager who has been penalised for repeatedly organising events that breach the Covid-19 legislation; his actions have blatantly disregarded measures to keep people safe in a pandemic."
The government's current guidance on funerals in England is that up to 30 people are allowed to gather for services outdoors.
During the gathering, you must remain socially distant from anyone that is not a part of your household or support bubble.
Meanwhile, funerals being held inside must allow for people from different households to socially distance, with a maximum of 30 people.
For breaching the rules, you could receive a fine of £100 – doubling for each subsequent offence up to £3,200.
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