COVID Halloween party leaves devastated home owner with bill for thousands of £s

The owner of a Bonnybridge property where 100 people breached coronavirus restrictions by attending a Halloween party has described the situation as “devastating”.

By Jonathon Reilly
Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 5:00 pm

Fiona Briggs took to Facebook to share her frustration after a guest flouted the rules and laid on a bash at Bonnyside House which was broken up by police.

A 46-year-old man was charged with breaching Covid-19 regulations and issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), while the alleged organiser of Saturday’s party, a 33-year-old man, was charged with culpable and reckless conduct.

On their arrival, officers discovered a 48-seater bus and several cars parked outside.

Sign up to our daily The Falkirk Herald Today newsletter

Officers were called to a gathering at a rented property in Bonnybridge on Saturday where they discovered a 48-seater party bus and several cars parked outside. Picture: Shutterstock.

Ms Briggs posted images of an online booking – originally made for just six people in accordance with government guidance – and before and after photographs to show the extent of the damage done to the venue.

She wrote: “Since September 14 we have been scrupulously following the rule of six, even for our large house.

“We changed the setting on Booking.com to ensure that we advertise and book for six guests maximum.

“This booking was made for six people at a very much reduced rate than normal.

“We cannot be held accountable for the actions of someone who we made well aware of the rules and regulations and chose to ignore them.

“We confirmed with this person it was for six people only as stated on our website. These guests were greeted at check-in, and we had no reason to believe this could happen as it wasn't until later on more people arrived without our knowledge.

“We are not making a 'fortune at the expense of residents in Bonnybridge', merely trying our very best to pay bills in what has been a very difficult year.

“We have brought tourists and income into Bonnybridge since 2004 and, wherever possible, we always try to employ local people for building/maintenance/cleaning and other support services.

“This has been a devastating experience for us, and support from the community would be very welcome.”

In her online post, Ms Briggs also denied any involvement in the party and stated she would’ve been charged by police had that been the case.

She added: “In contrast, we have spoken to the police to see what our best way forward would be in claiming some restitution for this outrage.

“As it is, we are facing repair bills in the thousands of £s, and have a property that is in no state to rent out in the near future.

“We apologise for any upset that this party has caused the residents of Bonnybridge and we are working with Booking.com to ensure it does not happen again.

“Because of data protection we cannot share the name of the organiser until after the court case.”

The Falkirk Herald has contacted Ms Briggs for comment.

Police Scotland dealt with more than 300 house gatherings last weekend, the vast majority of which involved small groups of people in houses.

More than 300 FPNs were issued and 24 people were arrested between Friday, October 30 and Sunday, November 1.

The majority of FPNs issued were to small groups from different households meeting in homes, in clear breach of the regulations in place to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

Thank you for reading this article on our free-to-read website. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Please consider purchasing a subscription to our print newspaper to help fund our trusted, fact-checked journalism.