LONDON — Police in England broke up an illegal nightclub over the weekend and released dramatic thermal imaging as dozens made their escape from an establishment where an estimated 150 people had gathered despite the country being under a national lockdown.
Officers saw a number of taxis dropping people off at a building in Birmingham’s Jewellery, on Sunday. Inside the building, they found revelers packed over two floors, complete with an illegally established bar, VIP area and a DJ.
One officer was injured as some bottles were thrown at the police as they broke up the party. Around a third of the illegal party-goers are believed to have escaped, with police releasing thermal imaging of a number of people escaping across the roof as the officers entered the premises on Sunday morning.
“Our officers continue to work long and hard to protect the public and reduce the spread of this deadly virus by breaking up these gatherings, often in really difficult circumstances,” Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd of West Midlands Police said in a statement. “It’s unacceptable that our officers came under attack, and that one suffered a minor injury, just for doing their job and enforcing laws that are in place to keep us all safe.”
Around 70 people were handed £200 ($278) fines and the DJ could face a fine of up to £10,000 ($13,927), police said.
Police discovered the illegal nightclub shortly after discovering another pop up bar just outside the city of Birmingham, where a dozen people were found in a converted garage, with a sign on the wall calling it “The Covid Arms.” While the owner was fined £1,000 ($1,392), the dozen drinkers inside were allowed to leave, police said.
“While there’s much to be hopeful of in terms of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines, people must remember that we are still in lockdown and the virus is still a real threat to communities across the West Midlands,” Todd said.