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POLICE RAIDS: Covid rule breakers face huge fines

This body camera footage shows the moment West Midlands Police raided a packed nightclub on Saturday night. The venue was illegally set up near the Jewellery Quarter.

Police had information that part of the building on Buckingham Street had been turned into a bar. After spotting taxis dropping people at the building, officers forced their way in to find around 150 people packed into the building across two floors.

As well as the bar, with neon signs and a dance room, officers came across a recording studio and gym. Some officers were pelted with bottles and one suffered a minor injury as a door was smashed open by people trying to break out.

Thermal imaging from police drones captured people trying to flee via the roof in the early hours of Sunday. In all, 50 people are believed to have fled when police arrived, but some 70 were issued with £200 fines and the DJ could now face a £10,000 fine.

On Saturday night, the force also discovered a garage workshop in Dudley Port had been turned into a bar – complete with a sign on the wall – The Covid Arms. Officers used their discretion to allow the dozen people in there to leave, but the owner was hit with a £1,000 fine.

ACC Chris Todd said: “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.

“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.

“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.

“We thank those people who are supporting our efforts to keep the public safe by sticking to the rules and staying home. They are saving lives.”

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