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Police slam 'blatant disregard' for COVID rules after breaking up huge St Patrick's Day crowds in Liverpool

Ellen Manning
·3-min read
St Patrick's Day crowds in Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Credit: Liverpool Echo
One person was arrested and 43 handed fines for breaking COVID rules in Sefton Park, Liverpool. (Reach)

One person was arrested and 43 were given fines for breaking COVID rules after police had to break up huge crowds celebrating St Patrick's Day in a Liverpool park.

Merseyside Police were called to Sefton Park in the city on Wednesday where large numbers of people had gathered, breaching coronavirus restrictions.

Officers had to move in to break up the crowds, with numerous vehicles stationed around the park's perimeter.

The force said a total of 43 people were given COVID fines while one person was also arrested for being drunk and disorderly.

St Patrick's Day crowds in Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Credit: Liverpool Echo
Police had to break up the gathering in Sefton Park on Wednesday. (Reach)

Police condemned the scenes as a "blatant disregard of the COVID-19 regulations".

Under current coronavirus rules, people are allowed to meet one person from outside their household for a coffee or picnic in outdoor spaces like parks.

Watch: What you can and can't do during England's third national lockdown

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In a statement, Chief Inspector Karl Baldwin said: "Such blatant disregard of the COVID-19 regulations, which are in place to protect our communities, will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police.

"We are still in a national lockdown and large gatherings, either indoors or outdoors, are currently not permitted under the current rules which state that you can only mix outdoors with one other person outside your household or support bubble."

St Patrick's Day crowds in Sefton Park, Liverpool.
Credit: Liverpool Echo
Police have criticsied the 'blatant' disregard' for the rules. (Reach)

He added: “Now, more than ever, people should be taking heed of the regulations, so that infection rates can continue to drop, and we can meet the criteria necessary for easing lockdown in the upcoming weeks and months.

“We know that adhering to the rules over the past year and not seeing family and friends has been really difficult but we all need to pull together and follow the rules as such reckless behaviour now will put any future easing of the lockdown rules in jeopardy."

Superintendent Mark Wiggins added: “Unfortunately there are people who believe the rules that the rest of us abide by are not meant for them. But we are here to protect our communities and will not tolerate when people choose to ignore the rules and put others at risk.

“Contrary to what some selfish people believe we are still in a national lockdown and currently people are only permitted to mix outdoors with one other person outside their household or support bubble.

“I would like to thank all those people who continue to abide by the rules in order to protect themselves and other people and would strongly urge anyone planning to meet in multiple households, either inside or outside, to consider the consequences of their actions and not put themselves at risk of receiving a substantial fine.”

Liverpool council's cabinet member for health Paul Brant urged people to follow the rules and not risk throwing away the city's hard-won gains against the virus.

He said: "The city has worked so hard to get the infection levels back down, and breaking the social distancing guidelines risks throwing away those hard-won gains with a flash of recklessness."

Watch: Should we be worried about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine?