UK

Moment police break up ‘cider tasting’ event at remote Somerset farm

Police have busted a Covid-rule breaking ‘cider tasting’ gathering on a remote farm where guests were not social distancing.

Customers were being served cider by staff and they were congregated around tables and not wearing face masks.

Body-worn footage from January 30 shows one officer greet the boozing rule-breakers at Lands End Farm near Wedmore, Somerset.

It comes as lockdown flouting continues across the country, with 40 students at Prince William‘s old university St Andrews in Scotland caught having a party.

Meanwhile a man who went from Southampton to North Wales to photo planets from Snowdon has been slapped with a £745 fine by magistrates.

Customers were being served cider by staff and they were congregated around tables and not wearing face masks

Body-worn footage from January 30 shows one officer greet the boozing rule-breakers at the farm near Wedmore, Somerset

Body-worn footage from January 30 shows one officer greet the boozing rule-breakers at the farm near Wedmore, Somerset

Owner of the premises Roger Wilkins (pictured), 72, eventually told police he was hosting a cider tasting - although he knew he was breaking lockdown rules

Owner of the premises Roger Wilkins (pictured), 72, eventually told police he was hosting a cider tasting – although he knew he was breaking lockdown rules

On the Somerset farm – hailed by Lily Allen, Mick Jagger and Johnny Rotten and is said to have a Banksy on the barn wall – an officer went through a second door to find more people.

He sarcastically said: ‘Ahh, more people.’

Owner of the premises Roger Wilkins, 72, eventually told police he was hosting a cider tasting – although he knew he was breaking lockdown rules.

Acting Sergeant Matthew Shaqer said: ‘The Covid-19 regulations are clear that alcohol cannot be served to customers for on-site consumption at this current time. Several people could be seen sat at tables with a glass of cider in a clear breach of the regulations.

‘It was shocking to walk into the premises and find so many people there. Any one of them could have had the virus but been asymptomatic and spread the virus to a number of other households.

‘We will continue to engage with the public, explain the rules and encourage them to comply, but with deliberate flagrant breaches of the legislation people can expect to be fined.

‘We appreciate the vast majority of people are however complying with the rules and are making sacrifices to their daily lives to limit the spread of Covid-19 and we thank them for doing so.’

On the Somerset farm - reportedly championed by Lily Allen, Mick Jagger and Johnny Rotten and is said to have a Banksy on the barn wall - an officer went through a second door to find more people

On the Somerset farm – reportedly championed by Lily Allen, Mick Jagger and Johnny Rotten and is said to have a Banksy on the barn wall – an officer went through a second door to find more people

Owner of the premises Roger Wilkins eventually told police he was hosting a cider tasting - although he knew he was breaking lockdown rules

Owner of the premises Roger Wilkins eventually told police he was hosting a cider tasting – although he knew he was breaking lockdown rules

A statement from Avon and Somerset Police said: ‘A Somerset business owner has received a £1,000 fixed penalty notice after breaking Covid-19 restrictions by serving alcohol to customers.

‘Police were called to a farm, in Mudgley near Wedmore, on Saturday 30 January and found several customers had been served cider by a member of staff.

‘People inside the premises were seen congregated around tables, not socially distancing or wearing face masks.

‘The business owner told police he was providing customers with samples of cider and conceded he knew he was in breach of the regulations. He was issued with a £1,000 fixed penalty notice.’

It added: ‘We have made Sedgemoor District Council’s licensing team aware of the incident.

‘Breaches of Covid-19 regulations that are happening can be reported on 101, while long-standing issues can be reported online through our website.’

Students at St Andrews University who broke the lockdown with a party of more than 40 people were told there was ‘no place for them’ in a stark warning by the principal.

Students at the top uni, where Prince William and wife Kate Middleton met each other, were told their actions put lives at risk, as well as their academic futures.

Students at St Andrews University who broke the lockdown with a party of more than 40 people were told there was 'no place for them' in a stark warning by the principal

Students at St Andrews University who broke the lockdown with a party of more than 40 people were told there was ‘no place for them’ in a stark warning by the principal

Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at St Andrews, warned students ‘this is not a game’ as she praised the majority who had adhered to coronavirus restrictions.

Campus security and police attended the party at a block in the David Russell Apartments, on Sunday evening.

A Police Scotland spokesman said: ‘An investigation is underway following a report of a party in student halls at St Andrew’s University on Sunday, January 31.

‘Enquiries are ongoing.’

In a letter to all students and staff, Professor Sally Mapstone, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at St Andrews, said there was ‘no place’ at the university for the party’s attendees.

She wrote: ‘Under the current law in Scotland, this was an illegal gathering.

‘It was attended by people who clearly knew they were breaking the law, and who showed no respect or responsibility for the health of others, including our staff, their fellow students, and the local community.

‘We all know that St Andrews students are not a homogenous group.

‘Many residents of DRA and others who have heard about what happened are appalled by the selfish and reckless behaviour of the minority who organised and attended this party.

‘The responsible and intelligent attitude of the vast majority of our students got us through first semester, and we will be doing everything we can to nurture that partnership approach to managing the risks of Covid in this second term.

‘The law exists for the simple purpose of saving life, and breaking it is not a game, unless you think that risking the lives of others and your own future at this university is a game.’

‘To the very small minority of others who believe they are so above the most basic duties of collective responsibility, there is no place for you in St Andrews.’

A man who travelled from Southampton to North Wales to photograph planets from Snowdon during the coronavirus pandemic has been fined by magistrates.

Filip Petrik travelled from Southampton to North Wales to photograph planets from Snowdon during the coronavirus pandemic has been fined by magistrates (file photo of Betws y Coed)

Filip Petrik travelled from Southampton to North Wales to photograph planets from Snowdon during the coronavirus pandemic has been fined by magistrates (file photo of Betws y Coed)

Filip Petrik, 31, drove with a friend from Southampton to Betws-y-Coed but was arrested by police for flouting the movement restrictions and for being drunk and disorderly.

Llandudno Magistrates ordered him to pay a total of £745 in fines and costs.

Prosecutor Julia Galston said the incident happened on December 21 last year when all parts of Wales were under Covid-19 regulations in a Tier 4 lockdown.

She said North Wales Police officers were called to a layby on the A470 near Betws-y-Coed on that Monday at 10.11pm.

There had been a report of two men lying on the floor. The prosecutor said the police arrived at 10.30pm and one officer approached Petrik.

He noticed the defendant was slurring his speech and was unsteady. She said Petrik tried to remove the officer’s facemask despite being told not to.

The prosecutor said the defendant said: ‘Do you want to suck my d***?’

She added: ‘His trousers were around his ankles and he was walking around in his underpants. He totally ignored any instructions.’

Mrs Galston said officers arrested Petrik for being drunk and disorderly and for breaching Covid-19 rules.

They took him to a police station in St Asaph. The court heard that, when interviewed the following day, Petrik said he had come to North Wales on December 19, arriving at 9pm, to go camping and take pictures.

He said he did not know which tier Southampton was in and had been unaware that he could not travel into North Wales.

Once he found out, the day before the offences, he planned to return home to Hampshire the following day.

Solicitor Jamie Gammon defended Petrik and both appeared together by video link to Llandudno Magistrates Court.

Mr Gammon said his client, who is a self-employed second hand car salesman, had been on a photography trip.

He said: ‘My client tells me he was not aware on entering Wales that there had been a lockdown and he had gone there for some photography on Snowdon.

‘He had heard there was a configuration of planets and there would be a good view from Snowdon.’

The solicitor accepted it was clear Petrik had had a lot to drink and exhibited ‘bizarre’ behaviour in the layby.

But Mr Gammon insisted Petrik is ‘seriously embarrassed’ and regrets his actions. His client has not had stable accommodation and has been living in a campervan.

He added: ‘If fault lies, it lies with him for not checking the circumstances (of the rules) and for being intoxicated.

‘It was disgraceful behaviour. (But) he has been adventurous enough to instruct my firm immediately.’

Petrik pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly and to breaching coronavirus lockdown regulations.

Chairman of the bench Hilary Owen fined Petrik £100 for being drunk and disorderly and £500 for the breach of coronavirus regulations.

She also condemned his behaviour, saying: ‘Your actions on December 21, 2020 were negligent and reckless at the very least.

‘You breached the coronavirus regulations that had been put in place to protect people.

‘Your behaviour potentially put the local population at significant risk and cannot be tolerated.’

The magistrates also ordered Petrik to pay £85 prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge.


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