POLICE handed out 14 fixed penalty notices to party-goers breaking Covid-19 rules at the weekend.

North Yorkshire Police say 14 fixed penalty notices were given to residents in Scarborough flouting the rules around gathering indoors and attending house parties.

Officers attended four separate parties, which were all in breach of the tier two regulations. The tier two regulations state that no mixing of households should take place indoors and that no more than six people should meet outdoors.

Chief Inspector Rachel Wood, Operational Commander for Scarborough and Ryedale said: “It’s really concerning to see the number of fixed penalty notices we have had to issue this weekend, especially considering that it was only a few weeks ago that Scarborough had some of the highest infection rates in the UK. Residents, the local authority and our policing teams have all worked so hard to get the infection rates down. So to see people having parties and jeopardising that progress is really quite shocking.

“I realise people want to get their lives back to normal and want to see friends and family – we all do. However, if we all rush out and ignore the regulations, we are going to end up back at square one. The Government have made it clear that tiers are to be reviewed on a regular basis, so the threat of being placed into higher restrictions is real.

“There is concern that as we get further into the festive season, more and more people are going to be tempted to flout the rules. We really do not want to give this virus any chance of spreading again, so I would urge people to adhere to the current regulations and not gather indoors with anyone who is not from your own household.

“Our neighbourhood teams are patrolling and will be ready to take action against any breaches of the regulations and we will use enforcement if we have to. If the thought of putting vulnerable people at risk doesn’t make people think twice, perhaps the prospect of a £200 fine right before Christmas will.”

In total North Yorkshire Police officers issued 17 fixed penalty notices this weekend. The other three were handed to individuals from the Cleveland area, who visited Whitby and breached their tier 3 gatherings restriction. Tier 3 restrictions, which prohibit indoor gatherings and restrict outdoor gatherings to a maximum of six people in specific outdoor locations, travel with residents of those areas into lower tiered areas and if breached, are enforceable by way of a £200 fixed penalty notice.

Superintendent Mike Walker, North Yorkshire Police lead for the force’s Covid response said: “I stated last week that officers would be patrolling and enforcing the health regulations, in order to keep our communities safe and to suppress the spread of the virus.

“We remain committed to this task and will continue to follow our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging people to do the right thing, only resorting to enforcement as a final measure.

“Thank you to all those local residents and residents of our neighbouring regions, who are making the right decision to stick to the regulations and guidance and are working with us to contain and control the threat of Covid-19.

“I realise that as we approach Christmas, the temptation to bend the rules and to meet friends and family indoors before the exemption period may be difficult to resist. Last week we heard the sobering announcement that the UK had surpassed 60,000 deaths, due to this virus. That just shows the stark reality of the devastation this virus can cause.

“Each one of the 60,000 people lost was someone’s loved one – their mum, dad, wife, husband or child. For me, that certainly puts everything in perspective and makes me more committed to our policing task and working together with the public and our community partners to prevent as many deaths as we possibly can.”