Police shut down 20-person Tier 4 restaurant gathering

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Police broke up a large gathering of approximately 20 people who were found hiding in the back garden of a Beckenham restaurant, a day after new Tier 4 restrictions came into force.

Four people have been issued with fixed penalty notices as a result. Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s South Area Basic Command Unit were called to the Beckenham restaurant (which has so far not been named) on Sunday, 20 December at approximately 8pm following reports that people were seen entering and taking their face masks off.

Upon arrival, a male was found standing at the door, who claimed to be a bouncer at the restaurant, and he refused officers entry. This delayed the officers in getting into the premises.

However, the officers soon made their way into the restaurant where approximately 20 people were seen running out of the back and were subsequently found hiding in the rear garden. All were told to leave out of the front of the restaurant, which they did.

Officers identified the owner, a 29-year-old man, who admitted he knew what he was doing was wrong. Two other men, aged 67 and 26, also identified themselves as the joint owner and general manager.

Four members of staff, including the two owners and general manager, were informed they would be reported for the offence of contravening the requirement to not participate in a gathering in a Tier 4 area of two or more people – private dwelling/any indoor space. The restaurant was closed and officers left the venue.

Officers continue to liaise with the local authority regarding a potential breach of regulations at the premises.

Sergeant Tom Beresford from the Met’s South Area Basic Command Unit, said: “This was the first day under the new Tier 4 restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the virus. The infection rate in Bromley is increasing and it is shocking that individuals continue to flout the rules in place.

“We will continue to work across the borough to clamp down on these offences, making sure to engage, explain encourage and enforce action where necessary.”

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