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Thousands of pounds worth of new COVID party fines issued on first night

Traffic officer uniform, reflective yellow color
Police issued thousands of pounds worth of new fines (Getty)

Police have issued thousands of pounds worth of new fines to people caught at illegal house parties.

Authorities across the country gave out £800 penalties after the rate was increased from £200 on Friday.

Devon and Cornwall Police issued £12,800 worth of fines to 16 people in Plymouth on Saturday morning when were caught breaking the rules, the BBC reported.

Sgt Dan Brenchley said: "Whether or not the individuals learn from it, or if they pay for it, we don't know.

"But we just hope that the more fines increase and the more powers the police get, the more this small minority of people will listen to what the government are saying and help fight this virus."

Watch: New fines introduced for house parties

In Derbyshire, police broke up two parties and issued 16 fines, with most of the penalties being given to parents as some of the people caught were under 18.

Inspector Nick Booth added: "I am keenly aware of just how difficult it is not seeing friends and family for such an extended period of time - but now is not the time to be behaving in such a way.

"This week we passed the tragic figure of 100,000 deaths during this pandemic and I would urge everyone to think long and hard about their actions."

The latest coronavirus laws came into force as part of tougher measures to crack down on illegal gatherings during the pandemic.

The penalties apply for groups of more than 15 people and will double after each offence, up to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offenders, Home Secretary Priti Patel said last week when she announced the plans.

This supersedes previous fines of £200.

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But the £10,000 penalties for unlawful groups of more than 30 people will still only apply to the organiser.

According to the legislation, which has now been published and is called the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers and Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, the £800 fine is cut to £400 if paid within 14 days.

As well as those in private dwellings, the rule also applies to similar gatherings in “educational accommodation”, the documents setting out the new law said.

The new laws give police powers to access Test and Trace data, the documents also suggest.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown