Coronavirus: Coventry barbecue crowd dispersed

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image copyrightWest Midlands Police
image captionOfficers tipped over the barbecue to bring the gathering to a close

More than 20 people stood "shoulder to shoulder" for a barbecue despite the introduction of new measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, police said.

Foleshill police, based in Coventry, tweeted a picture of the remains of the barbecue on Tuesday afternoon, describing it as "unbelievable'.

The crowd refused to disperse even when reminded about the need for social distancing, police said.

Officers had to tip the barbecue over to put an end to the gathering.

The barbecue had been sniffed out by officers on patrol who were shocked to find a toddler and older people "freely mingling and standing shoulder to shoulder round a buffet", West Midlands Police said.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The crowd insisted they should be allowed to continue, despite being reminded of the need for social distancing and only dispersed when the barbecue was pushed over, the force said.

Strict measures, announced on Monday, ban public gatherings of more than two people and people have been urged to stay indoors.

Comments on social media suggested those at the "shocking" BBQ should be fined.

image copyrightWest Midlands Police
image captionUnder new powers people can be fined for holding gatherings

Under new powers issued in the wake of the spread of coronavirus, police are able to explain to people why they should not be out but if they do not listen to advice they would then be given a fine, the National Police Chiefs' Council said.

However, fines will not be issued until Parliament passes the emergency legislation - which should be by the end of Thursday.

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