PEOPLE in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent are being urged not to attend any gathering or unlicensed music event (UME) in the county for Valentine’s Day.
Officers are aware that people may want to celebrate the occasion by socialising with others, however, they are reminded that we remain in a national lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
This means that you cannot leave your home without a reasonable excuse – such as for essential shopping, appointments and medication.
In previous years, officers have received reports of so-called anti-Valentine’s Day events, with groups of students attending unlicensed music events, particularly in student accommodation.
Superintendent Thomas Chisholm, head of neighbourhood policing for Staffordshire and Stoke-on- Trent, said:
“We appreciate Valentine’s Day can be a special time for people looking to celebrate with loved ones as well as friends.
“But, it is more important than ever to stick to your social bubble and with those who live in your household as we do all our best to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
“We have no intelligence as to whether any UME is due to take place in the county, however, we want to make sure people continue to do their upmost to follow the rules.”
People facilitating or organising illegal raves, unlicensed music events or any other unlawful gathering of 30 people or more may face a £10,000 fine for breaching coronavirus restrictions.
Anyone found attending any gathering of people from different households may receive an individual fine of £200 or more depending on whether individuals have been repeatedly reported for breaches.
If you attend a house party of more than 15 people, you may be individually fined £800.
Superintendent Chisholm added:
“Officers will continue to engage, explain and encourage compliance to the rules, but in line with Home Office guidance, anyone in severe breach of lockdown rules should expect to receive a fine.
“So please, stay home this Valentine’s, and if you can’t stay home, stay local, to save lives and protect the NHS.”
Anyone concerned about large gatherings in their area or other breaches of covid-19 national lockdown restrictions should contact Staffordshire Police by calling 101, via their website www.staffordshire.police.uk or via their Facebook or Twitter pages.
You can also report information about crime by contacting the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
For more information on the national lockdown and the restrictions that apply to where you live, visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home.