Funeral organiser fined £10,000 after more than 150 people attend

Police are appealing for information following two knife-related incidents in hitchin. Picture: Archant

Police are appealing for information following two knife-related incidents in hitchin. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

The organiser of a funeral in Arlesey has been fined £10,000 after more than 150 mourners turned up to the event - breaching the coronavirus guidelines. 

Bedfordshire Police were made aware of the funeral taking place on Thursday, and worked closely with family members and partner agencies to ensure the safety of those attending.

After temporarily closing part of High Street to facilitate the funeral, officers were called back when coronavirus restrictions were breached

Under the current government rules, only 30 people are allowed to attend a funeral for public safety.

Police say this was reiterated to the family organising the funeral beforehand and it was explained that clear breaches would result in the regulations being enforced.

A man in his 30s was subsequently issued with the fine by officers yesterday.

Chief Superintendent John Murphy, who is leading Bedfordshire Police’s response to coronavirus, said: “It is disappointing that after so much engagement with those organising the funeral prior to the event, that we have had to take action both to disperse the groupand then take the further steps.

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“We understand the past 10 months have been extremely difficult for everyone and that people need to mourn the loss of their loved ones with dignity and respect.

“However, public health remains our number one priority. The NHS is under significant pressure and coronavirus infection rates remain extremely high.

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“During these unprecedented times, people have had to make huge sacrifices, and an event of this size shows a lack of respect for those who have been unable to attend the funerals of loved ones or say goodbye in a way that they would have wished to.

“Fines and enforcement are a last resort for us, and we will always engage and work with families in the first instance. But we need to take firm action against those who brazenly decide to go against the guidelines outlined by the government and put a large number of people at risk.

“Thank you to those who continue to adhere to the government guidelines, by staying at home and preventing the spread of coronavirus.”

Thursday's funeral had links to Hertfordshire, and Herts police issued a £10,000 fine to a funeral director yesterday morning, in relation to the same event.

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