Statement from Essex Police regarding New Year’s Eve gatherings
WE ARE continuing enquiries to trace the organisers of two unlicensed New Year’s Eve events in which hundreds of people were put at risk.
Officers dispersed two events at All Saints Church in East Horndon and an empty industrial unit in Brentwood.
Hundreds of people had attended in breach of coronavirus restrictions, putting themselves and others in danger and in turn risking extra strain on NHS staff.
Officers had objects thrown at them and were threatened while dealing with the incident at the disused All Saints Church. Three people were arrested on suspicion of drugs and public order offences.
Crowds were also dispersed from an industrial building in Wates Way, Brentwood, and two people were arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and for failing to provide details.
Music equipment was seized from both locations and enquiries remain ongoing to identify the organisers of both events.
On the same night, officers had to deal with a house party in Bury Road, Sewardstonebury, attended by around 100 people.
A woman was issued a £10,000 fine for organising the party and another 27 people were given fixed penalty notices. Music equipment was also seized.
Across the three events dealt with, one £10,000 fine was handed out and 37 fixed penalty notices in total.
Chief Inspector Richard Melton said: “It is the reckless minority of people who organise and attend unauthorised events of this kind that risk spreading Covid-19 and jeopardising the efforts of the majority of people who are doing the right thing.
“Tragically there are people dying or becoming seriously ill because of this awful virus and we all have a responsibility for doing all we can to protect each other.
“We are continuing enquiries to trace the organisers of the gatherings in East Horndon and Brentwood and they will receive the maximum penalty for these blatant breaches of coronavirus regulations.
“And we’ll continue to identify anyone who is planning similar events and take appropriate action.
“Often, an early conversation with organisers to end an event at the earliest possible opportunity is all that’s been needed in the majority of cases.
“But where they refuse to, as in the cases on New Year’s Eve, we will not hesitate to issue fines and seize equipment.
“I’d urge anyone who is considering attending events like this to think about the risk they pose not only to themselves but to their loved ones, and the wider impact that the spread of the virus has on our communities.”
Anyone with information about these events are asked to contact us online at https://www.essex.police.uk where you can also use the ‘Live Chat’ button to speak to an online operator between 7am-11pm.
Alternatively, you can call 101.
Information can also be given to independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org