Covid-19: Two £10,000 fines for '150-person' funeral

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image captionPolice said they had been in contact with the family before the funeral took place "in an attempt to ensure safety"

A funeral director has been fined £10,000 after police were called to a funeral with close to 150 people in attendance.

Hertfordshire Police said the large gathering in Welwyn Garden City on Thursday was reported to them by members of the public.

Coronavirus rules mean a maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral.

A second person was fined, by Bedfordshire Police, for when the gathering was in Arlesey, Bedfordshire.

Supt Nick Caveney, of Hertfordshire Police, said: "This was a clear and blatant breach of the current restrictions."

He said the fine was given to the funeral director "for not managing this event correctly and advising their clients of the rules".

"We implore all business owners to ensure they are following the restrictions safely and responsibly," he said.

"Flagrant breaches such as this will not be tolerated."

The force said it had worked with other agencies and the family in advance of the funeral "in an attempt to ensure the safety of those attending and that of the wider public".

But when officers attended they found the large number of people at the church, and a 41-year-old man from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was handed the £10,000 fine after police served a fixed penalty notice.

Several members of the public had contacted the force about the funeral at the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady, Queen of Apostles on Woodhall Lane.

Bedfordshire Police said a man in his 30s was issued with the fine over the gathering.

Ch Supt John Murphy from the force said: "Fines and enforcement are a last resort for us, and we will always engage and work with families in the first instance.

"But we need to take firm action against those who brazenly decide to go against the guidelines outlined by the government and put a large number of people at risk."

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