Moment armed police broke up 100 strong street party in cramped cul-de-sac with BBQ and music as one reveller asks: ‘Is Covid-19 even real?’

  • Dozens of Britons mingled in cul-de-sac in Handsworth, Birmingham this week 
  • Police arrived to break up barbecue which was largest gathering they had seen
  • One woman asked an officer whether ‘Covid-19 is real’ as he dispersed the crowd
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Police were forced to break up a street party of more than 100 people in a cramped cul-de-sac this week – as one reveller asked ‘Is Covid-19 even real?’ 

Shocking bodycam footage captured dozens of Britons as they flouted lockdown rules by mingling in a street in Handsworth, Birmingham to enjoy a barbecue and blaring music on Wednesday evening.

The gathering, which West Midlands Police said was the largest they had attended since Covid-19 measures were announced on March 23, involved families and young children standing ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ despite nationwide restrictions on meetings.

In the clip, an officer is heard asking the crowd whether ‘everyone is enjoying themselves’, before he immediately tells partygoers they need to leave the area for their own safety.  

Shocking bodycam footage captured dozens of Britons as they flouted lockdown rules by mingling in a street in Handsworth, Birmingham to enjoy a barbecue and blaring music on Wednesday evening

‘This is a gathering that cannot happen under the current Covid-19 legislation and restrictions,’ he said.

As he continues to ask revellers to return home, a woman asks ‘is Covid-19 real?’ before explaining she isn’t sure because she ‘hasn’t had it.’ 

The officer replies: ‘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 revellers left the area and no fines were imposed or arrests made, the force said. 

Armed police has initially attended the scene after reports of a gunshot heard, but found no evidence of firearms, the Express and Star reported.

Under the government’s current coronavirus rules, Britons are permitted to meet one person from a different household outdoors so long as they remain two-metres apart. 

The gathering involved families and young children standing ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ despite nationwide restrictions on meetings, police said

In the clip, an officer is heard asking the crowd whether ‘everyone is enjoying themselves’, before he immediately tells partygoers they need to leave the area for their own safety

People can now also exercise outdoors more than once a day, and use outdoor sports courts and facilities with members of their household. 

Mass gatherings such as this still remain against Boris Johnson’s draconian lockdown rules, which were put in place to stop the spread of the deadly virus. 

A major study has, however, found less than half of 19 to 30-year-olds are ‘strictly’ abiding by Britain’s lockdown rules, while among adults the figure has dropped from 70 per cent to under 60 per cent in the last fortnight. 

Superintendent 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.

‘The officers handled the situation really well, engaging with the crowd, educating them on the current restrictions, and ordering them to return home.

‘There were no arrests and no fines were issued. However, these people have been warned and if we encounter any further mass gatherings at the location we may well issue on-the-spot fines.’

As an officer continues to ask revellers to return home, a woman asks ‘is Covid-19 real?’ before explaining she isn’t sure because she ‘hasn’t had it’

Mass gatherings such as this still remain against Boris Johnson’s draconian lockdown rules, which were put in place to stop the spread of the deadly virus

Since the lockdown rules came into force, West Midlands Police have issued around 2,600 instructions to Covid-19 rule flouters and handed out 480 fines.

Britons took to social media to express their fury at the street party and called on the organisers to be punished.

Writing on Facebook, Wesley Burrows said: ‘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.’

Annie Dax posted: ‘Just shows how government messaging on the virus has failed to cut through when you hear ignorant f***wits asking police if it’s real.’

Armed police has initially attended the scene after reports of a gunshot heard, but found no evidence of firearms

As temperatures soared in Britain this week, thousands flocked to beaches to bask in glorious sunshine as police warned lockdown-breaking campers to keep away.

Devon and Cornwall’s police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez yesterday warned people to ‘think twice’ before they ‘break the rules by staying overnight, parking illegally or driving dangerously’.  

Meanwhile, in the coastal town of Woolacombe in Devon, traffic wardens issued more than 70 tickets as all car parks were shut to keep away visitors. 

Local councillor Andrea Davis warned people to stay away: ‘Please note the car parks in Woolacombe are NOT open, the loos not open, the cafes not open,’ she said. ‘Please consider all these facts before visiting. Yesterday there was chaos.’ 

It came as new figures showed coronavirus is still infecting an estimated 61,000 people a week in England – although the true figure could be as high as 111,000.  

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