Pub faces licence review after throwing party attended by 600 people

Pub is facing review of its licence after it held huge party in its garden attended by more than 600 people in breach of Covid-19 social distancing guidelines

  • Beauvoir Arms in Essex threw garden party on August 2 for over 600 guests
  • Police have applied to Chelmsford council for review of the pub’s alcohol licence
  • Beauvoir Arms apologised on Facebook earlier this month ‘for any upset caused’

A pub is facing a review of its alcohol licence after throwing a huge garden party which saw over 600 people flout Covid-19 restrictions. 

The Beauvoir Arms in Downham, near Billericay, Essex, was slammed by neighbours after hundreds of guests packed into a small marquee on August 2.

Essex Police claimed they witnessed staff organisers and revellers in possession of cannabis, and added that the event resulted in obstructions to residents’ driveways, anti-social behaviour from guests and breaches of Covid regulations. 

The force has now submitted an application to Chelmsford City Council to review the pub’s licence to sell alcohol, and to restrict any outdoor activity for future events.

A pub spokesman issued a grovelling apology on Facebook while Essex Police said the party organisers had showed a ‘complete disregard for the law’.

In other developments to the coronavirus crisis in Britain today: 

  • The UK recorded another 1,089 coronavirus cases, meaning the rolling average number of daily infections has dropped for the third day in a row; 
  • Leicester will be brought partially out of its coronavirus local lockdown, with nail bars, outdoor pools, and beauty salons all allowed to reopen from tomorrow; 
  • Herd immunity could be closer than scientists first thought and as little as 10 per cent of people may need to be infected for the virus to fizzle out; 
  • Nearly three-quarters of coronavirus-infected people have no symptoms on the day they are tested for the disease, government data has revealed; 
  • Asian people are up to five times more likely to catch Covid than white people, according to data from a scheme run by the Office for National Statistics. 

The Beauvoir Arms in Downham, near Billericay, Essex, claim they only intended for 200 people to attend the event on August 2 to keep to social distancing rules. But the pub was slammed by neighbours after hundreds more guests gathered in a marquee that would only have fit 500 people even without social distancing

The Beauvoir Arms apologised on August 4, writing on Facebook: ‘Please accept our sincere apologies again for the events at Beauvoir Arms on Sunday’

The Beauvoir Arms apologised on August 4, writing on Facebook: ‘Please accept our sincere apologies again for the events at Beauvoir Arms on Sunday.

‘The event was planned as a soiree style evening, and thought it would be a garden party. Socially distanced tables, people staying within their groups, basically a classy event utilising our large outside areas too, to aid safe social distancing.

‘We said no more than 200 people as the marquee was big enough for about 500, plus, there is lots of space in the garden and we set it out to keep things socially distanced. Sadly many more guests arrived than we agreed.

‘We organised the correct facilities for the number we were expecting, and made provisions for 50 to 60 cars in the car park.

‘It was never our intention to have so many parking on the road.

‘The whole event including portable toilets were outside, which meant we could sanitise and clean up and still be able to re-open the restaurant safely the next day.

Lockdown is eased in Leicester as beauty salons and outdoor pools are allowed to reopen from tomorrow but gatherings in homes are STILL banned 

Leicester will be brought partially out of its coronavirus local lockdown, with nail bars, outdoor pools, and beauty salons all allowed to reopen from tomorrow.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock today announced the rules would be relaxed after a drop in Covid-19 cases in the city, although gatherings in homes are still banned.

Also allowed to reopen in Leicester from tomorrow will be tanning booths, massage parlours, spas, tattoo parlours and body and skin piercing services.

Outdoor music venues and theatres are already legally allowed to reopen in the city, but will now also be removed from guidance that recommended they stay closed.

But the Government said infection rates remain too high to allow the local lockdown to be fully lifted, so the restriction on indoor gatherings will continue. 

 

‘Finally we wanted to say that unfortunately this event did get out of hand, but we worked with the police and council to get everyone out safely, which was our main concern. With a large group it is important to disperse people in a safe way.

‘We would like to apologise again for any upset caused and understand resident concerns. 

‘We are going to make a donation to a local NHS charity as a good will gesture and hope that our local friends and loyal customers will understand the predicament we were in.

‘In 15 years of building up our business and making friends with you all we are deeply upset that you were affected. Please accept our full apology.’     

Many customers and neighbours of the pub have slammed the event, calling it ‘inexcusable’ and ‘inconsiderate’.

Katherine Charters commented: ‘Stop with the excuses. 

‘200 people is still a ridiculous amount of people to agree to descend on a village on a Sunday afternoon/evening in a normal environment – doing it during a pandemic is utterly irresponsible. The smell of cannabis, noise and littering was unbelievable.

‘Government guidelines state you only meet people you do not live with in any outdoor space in groups of up to six people from different households.

‘I assume a marquee counts as indoors and is therefore limited to two households. There must have been 800 people there on Sunday.

‘I can assure you that we won’t be spending any money in your establishment any time soon, and nor will any of our neighbours.

‘We will await the outcome of the review being carried out by licencing officers.’

Frankie Taylor added: ‘It could have been shut down as soon as you saw it getting busy. You should have pulled the plug, called the police and closed your doors. 

Eight drinkers test positive for Covid after pub is closed as other customers are urged to self-isolate for 14 days 

Eight drinkers have now tested positive for coronavirus after a working men;s club shut its doors – with other customers now urged to self-isolate. 

Those who visited the Empire Club in Stanley, County Durham between August 9 and 11 should self-isolate for 14 days from the date of their visit, authorities say.   

Council staff have been working with Public Health England and NHS Test and Trace since the first suspected cases came to light over the weekend.

Visitors to the Empire Club are advised to take a coronavirus test if they have any Covid-19 symptoms and to continue to self-isolate regardless of the result.     

The working men’s club has been ordered shut by PHE while three others in Stanley closed of their own accord after they were linked to virus cases. 

‘But the party continued.’

And Nicole Pearse wrote: ‘With the amount of people attending and the Covid infection rate growing, I’m going to assume you were not doing track and trace on all attendees. Statistically speaking, you have helped increase the spread of Covid and the very high likelihood of someone passing away from the virus. Live with that.’

In a statement as part of the licensing application, Essex Police said the party organisers had a ‘lack of control’ and a ‘complete disregard for the law’. They added that they had received numerous calls from concerned residents.  

The statement added: ‘Police officers attended the premises where a large marquee was set up in the grounds. The marquee was set up for an organised event with 600 persons expected to be attending.

‘This event was carried out in an unlicensed area, and no prior application was received to allow this event to go ahead.

‘The above activities resulted in obstructions to residents’ driveways, anti-social behaviour from attendees and breaches of Covid regulations.

‘Due to complaints regarding noise nuisance the council out of hours attended who stated that the music was excessively loud.

‘Promises were made to police officers by the organisers of the event to not allow any more persons into the party and to shut down at 8pm.

‘The event continued up until 10.30pm with attendees still arriving. The event organiser was very obstructive and gave officers false details.

‘Organisers, staff and attendees were witnessed to be in possession of cannabis and people were seen jumping a picket fence to gain entry into the marquee.

‘This shows the lack of control that the organisers had and a complete disregard for the law.’

Police struggle to contain illegal Manchester street party ‘blatantly flouting’ the local lockdown to celebrate Pakistan Independence Day

By Dave Rudge and Jemma Carr for MailOnline 

A group of heavily-outnumbered police officers fled a mob of hundreds of revellers attending an illegal party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in locked-down Manchester.

Party goers gathered in Manchester’s so-called ‘Curry Mile’ on Friday night, in breach of the city’s reinforced lockdown rules which restrict outdoor gatherings to up to six people with social distancing enforced.

Police were eventually able to clear crowds after shutting the road – but not before hoards of revellers surrounded a line of officers from all angles while hurling abuse and chanting ‘Pakistan’.

The illegal gathering sparked outrage from police and politicians alike.

Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan said he is ‘disappointed, frustrated, and angered with the appalling behaviour’ and said revellers ‘should be ashamed’. 

Greater Manchester Police Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling slammed the street party as ‘beyond comprehension’ and said he had ‘never seen anything quite as outrageous as this behaviour’ in his 30 years of policing. 

Detective Chief Inspector Carol Hobson said ‘it is really disappointing to see behaviour of this type’ in the middle of a pandemic.

Manchester Gorton MP Afzal Khan said he is ‘disappointed, frustrated, and angered with the appalling behaviour’ and said revellers ‘should be ashamed’. 

In the clip, several men crowded a female officer and shouted in her face before she was briefly separated from her colleagues.

Officers then closed ranks and forced the crowd back, as the policewoman held her hands up calling for calm. 


A group of heavily-outnumbered police officers fled a mob (pictured) after failing to break up an illegal party celebrating Pakistan Independence Day in locked-down Manchester

Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, also slammed the celebrations on Twitter

Asian Brits are up to FIVE times more likely to catch coronavirus than white people, official data reveals 

Asian people are up to five times more likely to catch the coronavirus than white people, according to data from a government-run surveillance scheme.

An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report released today revealed seven out of 1,510 Brits identifying as Asian swabbed positive for Covid-19 — a rate of around 0.46 per cent.

For comparison, the rate was 0.12 per cent for white people. The ONS concluded the risk was slightly higher than the percentage difference and that Asians were 4.8 times more likely to test positive.

No cases were diagnosed in any other ethnic groups in England between June 8 and August 2, which is when the data relates to. But the body claimed black Britons were twice as likely to be diagnosed, based on older figures.  

Results of antibody tests — which tell if someone has had the disease in the past — showed a similar discrepancy between ethnicity, with just 4.8 per cent of white people testing positive for the substances. In comparison, the rate was around 10.8 per cent for Asians and 9.5 per cent for Black Britons. 

Numerous reports have found black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in Britain face a higher risk of dying if they catch coronavirus than white people. 

Experts can’t pinpoint exactly why this is the case, but it could be down to the fact ethnic minorities are more likely to be poor, use public transport more often and work in public-facing jobs – all three of which make them more prone to interacting with strangers and catching the disease. 

It comes after local public health officials in swathes of locked-down parts of northern England revealed that South Asian communities were being disproportionately infected. 

Oldham, the UK’s current coronavirus hotspot, had to rollback lockdown restrictions last week after a huge spike among its Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. Arooj Shah, deputy leader of Oldham Council, said these groups account for up to two thirds of overall new cases in the Manchester town. Eighty-five per cent of new Covid-19 infections in Blackburn with Darwen – which has also had to retreat back into a tougher lockdown – have been among people from South Asian heritage.

Epidemiologists have previously told MailOnline that some communities which do not speak English as their first language were not following social distancing rules as stringently because public health messaging was not reaching them.

Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, and Gabriel Scally, professor of public health at the university of Bristol, said there had been a ‘breakdown in communication’ and that ‘language barriers were certainly an issue’.

The officers are surrounded on all sides by the mob – some of whom grin amid the chaos – who continue to jostle with each other.

As the sound of air horns blare in the background, chants of ‘Pakistan’ and what appears to be ‘England’ ring out from the group.

As the shouts continue, the police begin to withdraw with one officer grabbing the female police officer by the arm and pulling her away.

The crowd jeers as the police hound them off the road.

Police eventually broke up the gathering and no arrests were made.  

Lockdown restrictions on social gatherings remain in Greater Manchester and some parts of northern England – despite measures being relaxed elsewhere in the country.

The extra rules were enforced on July 31 following a local spike in Covid-19 cases. 

Greater Manchester Police said it had received 2,459 emergency calls on Friday, compared to 1,590 on the same day last year. 

Detective Chief Inspector Carol Hobson said: ‘It is really disappointing to see behaviour of this type whilst we, as a community, are trying to combat coronavirus and keep each other safe.

‘Friday night is one of the busiest in terms of demand on the police service and incidents like this one pull invaluable resources away from other people who may need the police more desperately. These blatant breaches slow us down.’

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling added: ‘I can honestly say that in 30 years of policing I have never seen anything quite as outrageous as this behaviour.

‘Quite frankly, it is beyond comprehension and I am incredibly disappointed that people feel they can gather in this way – blatantly flouting the rules.’

Afzal Khan, MP for Manchester Gorton, also slammed the celebrations on Twitter.

He wrote: ‘Disappointed, frustrated, and angered with the appalling behaviour on Wilmslow Road last night.

‘Not only is antisocial behaviour of this kind deeply disrespectful to Rusholme residents, ignoring the Covid-19 regulations puts us all at risk.

‘To those who came from outside Manchester, knowing full well the Covid situation across our region, your choice to visit Rusholme last night increases the danger of spreading the virus further here and at your home.

‘You should be ashamed – you have put your loved ones at risk.’ 

A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said: ‘On the evening of Friday 14 August, police attended areas of Wilmslow Road in Rusholme after reports of traffic issues and concerns regarding social distancing. 

‘The area was heavily congested with pedestrians congregating in large groups and numerous vehicles driving up and down the main road in an unsafe manner. 

‘On police attendance, it was necessary for the local officers to put road closures in place, to prevent access to vehicles along Wilmslow Road for the safety of the public. 

‘Officers also engaged with members of the public, encouraging people to disperse.

‘Officers also engaged with businesses, who were encouraged to consider temporarily closing until the situation became more manageable. 

‘GMP worked closely with a local councillor in order to engage with the community. No arrests were made.’


The officers are surrounded on all sides by the mob – some of whom grin amid the chaos – who continue to jostle with each other


Meanwhile, a gathering involving hundreds of people was also seen in east London on Pakistan Independence Day – with footage showing crowds of people on the street

Meanwhile, a gathering involving hundreds of people was also seen in east London on Pakistan Independence Day – with footage showing crowds of people on the street.

Local councillor Kam Rai told the Evening Standard: ‘I am fed up of people who think social distancing and wearing face coverings do not apply to them when it’s something they want to do.

‘Let me be clear: the risk has not gone away and the disease is still deadly.’ 

The street party came just one day before hundreds of revellers were caught partying inside a gazebo during an illegal lockdown party in Manchester where police officers were pelted with missiles.

Shocking footage caught on Snapchat shows the ravers flouting social distancing measures as they attended the illegal rave in Gorton on August 15. 

Following the incident, Greater Manchester Police confirmed that a woman, who they believe to be the party ‘organiser’, was slammed with a £100 penalty fine. 


Hundreds of revellers (left and right) were filmed dancing at an illegal lockdown party in Gorton, Manchester, on August 15 

During the footage, hundreds of people dance to the loud music with drinks in their hands and defy social distancing measures.

Officers arrived to the scene after receiving numerous complaints from residents on the street.  

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pilling later told Manchester Evening News that the footage was now being reviewed by police.

He added that while officers did not break up the mass gathering by force due to being hit with missiles, they did stop others from joining the party and also issued an anti-social behaviour closure notice.

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