Covid Scotland: Police raid 14,000 illegal lockdown parties

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Police raided over 14,000 illegal house parties as they enforced Covid restrictions during the past year, sometimes dealing with more than 200 in a day.

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One involved 10 men who had specially rented a flat in Edinburgh to watch football on TV.

In another case, police broke up a house party attended by more than 300 people in Midlothian.

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Police were often abused as they broke up illegal gatheringsPolice were often abused as they broke up illegal gatherings
Police were often abused as they broke up illegal gatherings

Figures show from August 2020 to the end of July 2021, officers went to 14,412 homes following complaints from ­neighbours and members of the public about gatherings which broke the rules. Police found details of other parties on social media sites.

A total of 8374 of the properties raided were found to have breached ­lockdown rules; 527 revellers were arrested and a further 11,460 people were given fixed penalty notices.

Officers were sometimes subjected to abuse or attack as they dispersed the illegal parties, using new powers granted to them in August last year.

David Kennedy, deputy general ­secretary of the Scottish Police ­Federation, said the figures were “­shocking”.

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Police found 300 people at an illegal party in Kirkhill House in MidlothianPolice found 300 people at an illegal party in Kirkhill House in Midlothian
Police found 300 people at an illegal party in Kirkhill House in Midlothian

He said: “Our officers during Covid were ­relentless in their duties and ­entitled to attend these calls safely.

“They did their best to disperse the parties while maintaining order and should not be subject to abuse and ­violence for doing their jobs.

“Assaults on officers are unacceptable at any time but particularly when they are trying to protect the public.

“Because of the nature of their job, officers were unable to maintain the one-metre social distancing when dealing with these incidents, which put them at further risk.”

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Glasgow had the highest number of call-outs as well as the highest number of fines issued for partygoers.

In one case in the city, officers issued 64 fixed penalty notices and charged a 26-year-old man with culpable and reckless conduct after an illegal Halloween party at a warehouse on November 1.

At another party in Glasgow, attended by 10 people, police discovered the host had already been issued with two fixed ­penalty notices.

Four officers were hurt, including one who was bitten and another who was punched in the face, when they used pepper spray to break up a house party in Argyll and Bute.

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In Tayside, a householder told officers she had Covid and coughed in their faces after they were called to deal with people fighting at a party.

Revellers at a party in Ayrshire tried to jump out of windows when police arrived.

Officers had to force the door of another house in Ayrshire after they discovered 100 people inside.

And 20 people from across the UK attended a Hogmanay ­bonfire near Dumfries.

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Police break up 'selfish and irresponsible' 300-person rave in Midlothian

The Evening News reported last September how police officers had raided Kirkhill Mansion in Midlothian where 300 people were attending an illegal paid-for party.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted at the time: "It's hard to put into words how utterly irresponsible this kind of behaviour is in current circumstances."

Police Scotland said a 29-year-old man arrested in connection with the event had been issued with a fixed penalty notice.

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