THE Police Service of Northern Ireland have issued fines to 40 people after a large house party in Belfast.
40 people were issued with Covid-1 fines and a further four people issued with Covid-2 prohibition notices after police were called to a large party in South Belfast in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
According to PSNI officers, the party, which took place on Penrose Street, was initially broken up just after midnight but restarted after police left the vicinity.
Officers were again called to the "loud, noisy house party" at 8am, and entered the property to ensure it was properly broken up.
Once in the house, PSNI officers found a large number of people in attendance; they searched the property and found 19 people hiding in a locked bedroom who refused to come out, and found a further two people hiding in the attic.
Speaking on the incident yesterday afternoon, PSNI Sergeant Stuart Jackson told reporters:
"Just before 12.40am this morning, Police received a report about a large, noisy house party in the Penrose Street area.
"Officers attended a terraced property and located a large number of people inside.
He added: "At one point, 19 people locked themselves in a bedroom and initially refused to come out. A further two people were found hiding in the attic.”
"After issuing 32 Covid 1 notices, four Covid 2 notices and two fixed penalty tickets, police officers remained at the scene until people left the area.
"Just after 8.15am this morning, police received a further complaint that a party had restarted at the same address. Police again attended and issued a further eight Covid 1 notices.
Covid-1 notices involve a £60 fine and is aimed at people attending mass gatherings, which are banned under current restrictions in Northern Ireland.
Covid-2 notices are handed out when those responsible for a premises, such as a property owner, does not halt large gatherings. The notices are warnings, but if the restrictions are breached again, those responsible could face fines of up to £5,000.
Sergeant Jackson urged everyone to abide by Covid-19 restrictions, as Northern Ireland continues to experience a high incidence rate of the virus.
"The current health restrictions are not a game," he warned. "Across Northern Ireland, people are making sacrifices, not visiting family members or friends and businesses have temporarily closed.
"The young people congregating or travelling to this area really need to consider their actions for their own health and that of the community of this residential area.
"Where appropriate, we will now engage with our University and Further Education partners, who may consider taking action if any of their students were involved with this party."