A STREET party with more than 100 revellers was broken up by police — after a claim from the crowd that coronavirus might not be for real.
West Midlands Police say the party in a packed cul-de-sac was the largest they have seen since the lockdown began.
Officers broke up the bash in Sandwell Street in Handsworth, Birmingham, at 7.45pm yesterday after receiving reports of a mass gathering.
Bodycam footage shows dozens of cars parked up on kerbs and in driveways while people, including families and children, enjoyed a barbecue and music.
One officer is heard asking the crowd: ‘Good evening, folks, is everyone enjoying themselves?’
He is met with cheers from the partygoers before he tells them to leave the area for their safety.
The officer tells them: ‘This is a gathering that cannot happen under the current Covid-19 legislation and restrictions.’
One woman is then heard asking: ‘Is Covid-19 real?’
The shocked officer replied: ‘Covid-19 is real, yeah. The reason we are here is to provide safety for people.
‘We need to disperse this group and for people to go about your business.
‘This gathering needs to stop. All the best, enjoy the sun elsewhere.’
After several minutes the partygoers left, with no fines being handed out and no arrests.
Supt Gareth Morris said: ‘This gathering was unacceptable. It was, in essence, a large street party.
‘Such gatherings are banned at present under Covid-19 regulations as they pose a very real risk of spreading the virus and costing lives.
‘It’s important people take responsibility for their own actions to help curb the spread of the virus.
‘There were several children in this gathering… parents need to be stressing to their children the importance of social distancing to save lives.
‘We don’t like stopping people having fun… but everyone has to recognise amassing in large numbers like this, given the current pandemic, is out of order.’
Since the lockdown rules came into force, West Midlands Police have handed out 480 fines to people flouting them.
Critics took to social media to express their fury at the street party and called on the organisers to be punished.
Wesley Burrows said on Facebook: ‘Absolutely gobsmacked that this huge street party was allowed to go unpunished.
‘Every single person there could be capable of spreading the virus to someone who could then die. Not enough to call them idiots, they’re potential killers.’