Lancashire Police hand out £50,000 in lockdown fines at the weekend after raids on poker parties, raves and karaoke
Nearly £50,000 in fines were handed out in Lancashire at the weekend, as police received 529 reports of alleged breaches to lockdown restrictions.
Less than half of the reported incidents led to fines, with officers issuing tickets to 238 people who were deemed to have breached restrictions between 7am on Friday (March 5) and 5.30am on Monday (March 8).
It means nearly £50,000 in fines were issued in the 70-and-a-half hour period.
Lancashire Police said the number of incidents is an increase on the previous weekend's figures, when a total of 281 suspected breaches were reported and 224 people fined.
Among the breaches investigated by the force was a rave in a Chorley woodlands which officers raided at around 9pm on Saturday (March 6). Most of the estimated 100 people in attendance fled the scene but 12 people were detained by police and issued with £200 fines.
You can read more about the rave and watch police body-cam footage of the raid here.
Officers also issued 26 tickets to those found at a poker party in Blackburn on Saturday (March 6).
Police raided the poker game after receiving a tip-off about a gathering taking place at a business premises above Roberto's Bar in Richmond Terrace at 7pm. You can watch body-cam footage of the raid in our video player above.
After gaining entry, officers discovered "a party in full swing" in a room above the bar, where a number of people were playing poker across two large tables and enjoying food and drinks.
Police fined 26 people £800 each - a total of £20,800 - accounting for nearly half of the £50,000 in fines issues over the weekend.
The force said poker players from Nottingham and St Helens had travelled to Blackburn to take part in the tournament.
The organiser and person responsible for the building has also been reported for summons at Blackburn Magistrates' Court for arranging the illegal gathering.
Lancashire Police and Blackburn with Darwen Council are also considering whether to seek a review of the premises licence.
Other incidents attended by police included a large party at a farm in Dunnockshaw near Burnley and a group of 10 people gathering for a 30th birthday karaoke party in Walton-le-Dale.
Sgt Steve Dundon said: "This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable and not only potentially puts lives in danger, it also risks extending the lockdown yet further.
"While we will show patience and understanding where possible, at this point of the pandemic people really should know better.
"Where people are still confused we will still look to engage, educate and encourage then to follow the rules, but where there is a blatant disregard for the Regulations – such as in this case – we will quickly move towards enforcement.
"As we start to see an end in sight, I would continue to ask people to act responsibly and do the right thing in order to keep the people of Lancashire safe."