Hundreds fined for breaching lockdown in North Yorkshire as Boris Johnson apologises for 'Christmas party'

Hundreds of people were convicted and fined for breaching coronavirus laws in North Yorkshire last year amid public fury that Number 10 held its own 'Christmas party' during lockdown.

Wednesday, 8th December 2021, 4:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th December 2021, 8:55 am
Officers were called to a number of house parties across Scarborough during lockdown, which were banned at the time. (Photo: North Yorkshire Police)

It is alleged that there were at least three parties in Westminster under lockdown including a party at Downing Street on December 18, a Christmas quiz at Downing Street, and a Department for Education party on December 10.

Boris Johnson apologised at Prime Minister's Questions earlier this afternoon after a video obtained by ITV showed senior staffers joking about holding a Christmas party.

During lockdown, Scarborough borough consistently ranked the highest for Covid fixed penalty notices and illegal indoor gatherings in North Yorkshire with 92 handed out by the end of January 2021 alone.

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Officers were called to a number of house parties during lockdown, with one man even attempting to hide in the loft. (Photo: North Yorkshire Police)

North Yorkshire Police's Superintendent Mike Walker revealed in January how thousands of pounds worth of fines had been handed out in Scarborough, and that they were called to an illegal gathering on Christmas Eve – with officials now alleged to have been partying at Downing Street just days earlier.

Ministry of Justice data shows in 2020, there were 232 court prosecutions in the area served by North Yorkshire Police for breaches of restrictions introduced at the beginning of the pandemic.

They resulted in 224 convictions, with most leading to fines.

The largest number of fines – 132 – ranged from £300 to £500 while two convictions resulted in fines of between £750 and £1,000.

In total, £107,658 in fines were issued by the courts in North Yorkshire. Aside from fines, one person was jailed for six months after being convicted.

All the convictions were for breaches of emergency restrictions. The figures detail all prosecution outcomes, so the same defendant could have been listed more than once.

In total, 118,438 fines were issued by police in England and Wales for breaches of the rules between March 2020 and October 2021, according to data from the National Police Chiefs Council.

The MoJ figures also show men were far more likely to be convicted of breaching Covid laws in North Yorkshire last year – in 170 of the 213 convictions where the sex and age were recorded, the defendant was male.

People aged between 30 and 39 accounted for the largest proportion of convictions, while one was against a person aged 70 and over.