Two men fined £10,000 each for organising a mass snowball fight during lockdown
29 January 2021, 10:06
Covid rule breakers have been handed a £10,000 fine after taking part in a snowball fight.
Two men have been fined £10,000 each after they organised a mass snowball fight in Leeds.
Hundreds of people arrived at Hyde Park earlier this month, despite current lockdown rules in England banning people from meeting in groups outside.
Videos of the crowds which gathered on January 14 were captured and shared on social media by students.
West Yorkshire Police have since confirmed that men, aged 20 and 23, had been fined after putting those who took part at ‘a significant and completely unnecessary risk’.
It's been reported the 23-year-old had previously received a fine for breaching rules mixing households.
Chief Superintendent Damien Miller called the snowball fight a ‘blatant breach’ of the rules, as he said in a statement: "We take absolutely no pleasure in handing out such heavy fines to these two young men but their actions encouraged hundreds of people to be in close proximity to each other, creating a significant and completely unnecessary risk of increasing the spread of the virus.
"It was a blatant breach of the legislation that is in place to help keep people safe at what remains a critical time for us all.
"The event attracted understandable media attention and widespread public condemnation of all those who irresponsibly took part.
"That said, it remains clear that the vast majority of people recognise the need for collective responsibility and are continuing to stick with the regulations that are there to protect our families and our communities.
"We will continue our approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance but we won't hesitate to enforce the law where people blatantly disregard the rules and put others at risk."
This comes after a 20-year-old man, who said his name was Adam, defended the events and called it ‘a welcome relief’.
He said: "It was a very welcome relief... a welcome laugh that people needed.
Schools will not reopen until at least March 8, free school meals extended
"I know many students who are extremely depressed, and stressed with online exams and have had little support.
"Mental health is equally as important as physical health... so many young people and students really have nothing to keep them going at this point."
It's not clear how the men encouraged people to join them at the park.
In England, it is against the law to socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.
The rules state you can meet up with one person who you don’t live with for exercise once a day.
Police can issue fines of £10,000 to anyone hosting gatherings of 30 people or more.