Man faces substantial fine over canal boat lockdown party

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Image source, Met Police
Image caption,
Police broke up the party on the canal boat on the River Lea in February

A man has been warned he faces "substantial" fines for breaching Covid-19 regulations after police broke up illegal parties on his canal boat.

Jordy Nicholas Van Duijvenbode, 31, admitted holding a gathering of more than 30 people and a second charge of participating in a gathering of two or more people in an indoor space.

Police were alerted to parties on two occasions in February during lockdown.

He appeared at Stratford Magistrates' Court on Friday.

Mr Van Duijvenbode took in between £300 and £700 for the use of his boat called the Nebuchadnezzar, the court heard.

He told magistrates that hosting the parties had been his "only choice" after he was unsuccessful in applying for government grants.

The court heard the defendant was a director of a company that is linked to pubs and the hospitality industry.

"In hindsight I shouldn't have done it," said Mr Van Duijvenbode, who represented himself at the hearing.

Police broke up two gatherings - one on 5 February and one on 13 February.

'My life has been destroyed'

During his police interview, Mr Van Duijvenbode claimed he had nothing to do with arranging the event and that his only job on the day was to drive the boat.

District judge Susan Holdam heard the matter could have been ended with an £800 penalty notice if Mr Van Duijvenbode had allowed it to be dealt with in February.

Mr Van Duijvenbode told the court: "My boat has been destroyed. My life has been destroyed."

He said he used to earn about £3,000 to £4,000 a month but has been living in his Transit van for about three months, parking at various place across London.

He said he was on Universal Credit, set to apply for bankruptcy and he also helped financially with his seven-year-old son who lives with his mother in west London.

Mr Van Duijvenbode was bailed to next appear on 4 June for sentencing at the same court.

The judge told him: "The fines you are facing are going to be substantial ones."

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