A wedding reception which breached coronavirus rules after more than 100 people attended has been broken up by police.
Officers in London – which will face Tier 2 restrictions from midnight on Friday – were called to the Tudor Rose venue in Southall, west London, shortly after 6.30pm on Tuesday.
In a statement, police said: “The owner of an event venue in west London has been reported for consideration of a £10,000 fixed penalty notice, after they allowed a wedding reception to go ahead that attracted more than 100 people.”
Groups of no more than 15 are allowed to attend wedding receptions in England, according to the government’s website.
It comes as a bid to lift the restriction was rejected by a High Court judge on Thursday.
Cripps Barn Group Ltd, a wedding operator which runs a number of venues across England, asked for an injunction to prevent enforcement of the limit on numbers.
Its lawyers argued that the rules were “unlawful” and would cause the firm and others like it to suffer “serious and irreparable harm” if they continue to be enforced.
But a judge rejected their claims, saying the public interest in keeping the measures in place “outweighs” the harm that will be suffered by venues.
The application was made ahead of a wider legal challenge, launched earlier this month by Cripps, along with businessman Simon Dolan – who according to the Sunday Times Rich List is worth £200m – over the legality of government measures aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19.
It is the second High Court challenge Mr Dolan has brought against lockdown rules, the first having been dismissed in July, which he will challenge later this month.
Police in London vowed on Thursday to take “tough action” against licensed premises putting customers at risk by breaching new measures coming into force at the weekend.
The alert level in the capital will be raised from “medium” to “high” as of midnight on Friday – meaning Londoners will no longer be allowed to meet people from other households inside – whether at home or at other venues such as pubs. They should also avoid public transport if possible as part of the rules.
It a tweet, Metropolitan Police warned people about the new rules and promised to step up their efforts to crack down on “the most deliberate, harmful and flagrant” breaches of coronavirus restrictions.
They said patrols would be increased, including near pubs and bars during the evenings, where breaches were “more commonly recorded”.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the force’s lead for COVID-19, said this was a “critical moment in London’s fight against this deadly virus”.
He added: “I know the vast majority of Londoners will make the right decisions in order to keep themselves and their families safe.
“Frustratingly, we have seen a small number of dangerous and reckless breaches of the regulations and as the alert level in London increases, we are adopting our policing approach.”
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“We will not hesitate to take action against those individuals or businesses who put people at risk,” Mr Twist continued and added that he asked those across the city to “work with us”.
He continued: “By each of us being responsible, we can help minimise the transmission of the virus and help keep London’s most vulnerable communities safe from harm.”
In Liverpool, crowds of people were filmed dancing in the street and not observing social distancing the night before harsher restrictions were put in place, with the footage later branded “a slap in the face”.