Police swoop on pensioners waiting to receive the Covid jab at vaccination centre ‘after they received false tip-off that venue was holding an illegal rave’
- Police swooped on ‘rave’ at Essex’s Freemasons’ Saxon Hall in Southend-on-Sea
- The crowds were reported to them by concerned neighbours raising the alarm
- But police instead found pensioners queueing for their Covid jabs on Friday
Police called to reports of an illegal ‘rave’ in Essex arrived to discover queues of pensioners patiently waiting for their Covid jabs.
Three police cars rushed to the Essex Freemasons’ Saxon Hall in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, after worried locals reportedly raised the alarm over ‘an illegal party’.
But instead of raving revellers, officers found dozens of 80 and 90 year olds queuing for their vaccine shots.
The officers quickly realised the tip off was false and helped manage traffic at the busy vaccination centre.
Three police cars rushed to the Essex Freemasons’ Saxon Hall in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, (pictured) after worried locals raised the alarm over ‘an illegal party’
The concerned calls from worried neighbours follow a number of illegal parties hosted in Essex.
The 500-year-old Grade II listed All Saints Church in East Horndon was trashed during an unlicensed New Year’s Eve rave.
Organisers of the event set up a bar and DJ decks inside the church and hired Portaloos for partygoers.
Three people were arrested and Essex Police said officers had been threatened and had objects thrown at them.
Police in Essex alone issued £18,000 worth of fines over New Year celebrations, breaking up events that included a house party with 100 people attending and a fire dancer performing for crowds.
Dennis Baum, chairman of Saxon Hall, witnessed the bizarre confusion over the vaccination centre mistaken for a rave on Friday.
He said: ‘It was really funny when the police arrived as they had been notified that there was a ‘rave’ taking place at Saxon Hall – only to find 80 and 90 year-olds on wheelchairs, zimmer frames and walking sticks, patiently queueing for their vaccinations.
But when police arrived they instead found scores of penioners queueing for their Covid jabs at the vaccination centre. Pictured: Pensioners previously given the vaccine at Basildon University Hospital, in Essex
Met Police chief Cressida Dick says public should report ‘persistent’ flouters for having house parties and breaking rules
Britain’s most senior police officer has urged the public to report ‘persistent’ Covid rule flouters to police.
She said there is a ‘small minority’ of people failing to comply with the national lockdown with people still holding house parties, and keeping restaurants, pubs and cafes open despite the huge number of daily Covid cases and deaths.
Speaking on an LBC radio phone-in, Dame Cressida said: ‘The last thing I’m going to say on national radio is everyone should be shopping everybody. I don’t think that.
‘What I do think is, if you do have concerns that somebody is persistently not complying with the restrictions, with the regulations, then, yeah, you should talk to us.
‘If you feel comfortable to do so, then talk to us.’
‘Grumpy old men and grumpy old women were in abundance. Nevertheless, as a balancing act many more very appreciative people couldn’t have been more grateful to receive the vaccine and to Saxon Hall and the Freemasons for facilitating it.’
The police quickly realised the mistake and offered assistance with traffic problems.
Mr Baum added: ‘The police left but then came back in the afternoon to help. The first patient arrived at 7.10am for an 8.30am appointment.
‘The Astra-Zeneca vaccine was expected, but the Pfizer one arrived but not until 9.10am and then not in enough quantity – so the congestion commenced, and then got worse when they ran out of vaccine and there was an hour’s delay in getting more.
‘It was absolute chaos and very cold. The car park became choc-a-bloc with 80 year-old-plus drivers.’
The Queensway surgery in Southend organised the vaccination centre on behalf of eight GP surgeries in the borough.
The confusion over the gathering comes amid comments from Britain’s most senior police officer, Dame Cressida Dick, that people should report ‘persistent’ rule flouters.
The Met Police Chief said there was still a ‘small minority’ ignoring the lockdown restrictions.
Her comments came on the day that Britain recorded it’s highest ever death toll of the pandemic so far.
The number getting the jab fell for the third day in a row on Monday when 204,000 were vaccinated, compared to 324,000 on Friday.
This was despite cases rising, with another 33,355 new infections announced.
The deadliest day on record saw 1,610 new Covid victims, care home fatalities double and vaccinations slump again.
Essex Police has been approached by Mail Online for a comment.