Coronavirus UK: Prankster, 27, sets up limited company for £6 so he can dodge ‘rule of six’


A prankster has set up a limited company for £6 and named his family as staff so he can have them over for a working lunch on Christmas Day.

Fenn Settle, 27, bragged about his loophole online, telling the UK Government: ‘Jokes on you’. 

The account manager, from Leeds, said it cost him £6 to register Fenn Settle Ltd and he will keep it ‘for as long as he wishes’ so his family can visit.

The Government’s Rule of Six stops groups larger than the six-person limit gathering to limit the spread of coronavirus. If fewer people socialise at one time the rate of infection (R-rate) should fall, officials have said. 

But a loophole in the rules saw Mr Settle sit inside a restaurant with his colleagues – despite Leeds’ Tier 2 restrictions banning members of different households from indoor venues. And it gave him an idea. 

According to the Government’s rule of six work colleagues can work together in offices, restaurants or other business premises. 

In a social media post he wrote: ‘Right then UK government, jokes on you [sic].

‘I’m not allowed to have my family around for Christmas. I am however allowed to have employees around.’

Mr Settle registered his own limited company, putting his home address as his business premise. It means he can employ his family on a zero hours contract and have them over for meetings – turning Christmas day into a work event.

Fenn Settle (pictured), 27, bragged about his loophole online, telling the UK Government: ‘Jokes on you’

The account manager, from Leeds, said it cost him £6 to register Fenn Settle Ltd and he will keep it 'for as long as he wishes' so his family can visit

The account manager, from Leeds, said it cost him £6 to register Fenn Settle Ltd and he will keep it ‘for as long as he wishes’ so his family can visit

What is the Rule of Six? 

The Rule of Six is in place to limit the transmission of coronavirus. It means: 

  • Max social gatherings SIX PEOPLE
  • Applies indoors and outdoors
  • Applies in private homes
  • Applies in pubs and restaurants
  • Does NOT apply to schools or workplaces
  • Does NOT apply to weddings, funerals, team sport
  • Does NOT apply if household bubbles are bigger than six people
  • Police will be encouraged to break up larger groups and issue £100 fines, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200 

Families will not be allowed to meet indoors in groups of more than six even if their area is under Tier 1 restrictions. It could mean grandparents are excluded from Christmas dinner with their loved ones.

The Government has already indicated it will act to stop large family gatherings this Christmas, with Environment Secretary George Eustice warning that even festive gatherings that adhere to the Rule of Six could be outlawed if they include people living in different lockdown tiers. 

He added: ‘£6 later, Fenn Settle Ltd. is now a legally registered company, registered with Companies House.

‘I can now “hire” my family and friends on a zero-hour contract and invite them for an “unpaid works event” at my house (registered premises) regardless of any tier system and totally irrespective of the rule of six. Checkmate.’

It comes after local officials across West Yorkshire held key talks with senior ministers to discuss the ‘next steps’ in tackling Covid-19.

Kirklees, Leeds, Calderdale, Bradford and Wakefield are already under Tier Two, which means people are banned from meeting up with friends and family indoors.

But a Tier Three status would see all pubs and bars have to close unless they serve ‘substantial’ meals. 

Residents would also be banned from mixing with anyone they don’t live with indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens. 

It could mean families are kept apart on Christmas Day.  

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said the Prime Minister needed to tell families what restrictions to expect over Christmas.

But she added: ‘There has been growing frustration at how often these rules are imposed in a confusing rush.

‘We urgently need the Prime Minister to set out now the lockdown restrictions we are likely to face over Christmas, so families will know which loved ones they will be able to share Christmas with.

‘We need to avoid a repeat of the situation we have seen far too often this year in which the Government announces new restrictions but only hands police the detailed guidance on what is and isn’t enforceable just hours before, or even after, the law comes in to effect.

It comes after local officials across West Yorkshire held key talks with senior ministers to discuss the 'next steps' in tackling Covid-19. Pictured, Mr Settle

It comes after local officials across West Yorkshire held key talks with senior ministers to discuss the ‘next steps’ in tackling Covid-19. Pictured, Mr Settle

He said although he registered the company to prove a point and wouldn't be 'sending out P45s and starter checklists', he hoped it would highlight 'how jokes their rules are'

He said although he registered the company to prove a point and wouldn’t be ‘sending out P45s and starter checklists’, he hoped it would highlight ‘how jokes their rules are’

The company is registered on Company House. Mr Settle's home address is listed under 'registered office address'

The company is registered on Company House. Mr Settle’s home address is listed under ‘registered office address’

‘The police can’t pick and choose which laws to uphold, and what the force needs, and what the public needs, is clarity from the Prime Minister on what laws will be in place at Christmas so families and others can start planning now.

‘Of course I encourage people to follow the rules that are imposed to help keep everyone safe this winter but we need to know what they will be – the country needs clarity not chaos.’

After revealing his stunt online, Mr Settle’s post received more than 8,500 shares and 1,800 reactions.

He said although he registered the company to prove a point and wouldn’t be ‘sending out P45s and starter checklists’, he hoped it would highlight ‘how jokes their rules are’.

Other social media users applauded Fenn’s ‘genius’ discovery – while some suggested they may follow suit, tagging their friends.

He updated his Facebook bio following the registration of Fenn Settle Ltd, naming himself CEO

He updated his Facebook bio following the registration of Fenn Settle Ltd, naming himself CEO

After revealing his stunt online, Mr Settle's post received more than 8,500 shares

After revealing his stunt online, Mr Settle’s post received more than 8,500 shares

Other social media users applauded Fenn's 'genius' discovery - while some suggested they may follow suit, tagging their friends

Other social media users applauded Fenn’s ‘genius’ discovery – while some suggested they may follow suit, tagging their friends

Cloud Lane said: ‘You are, are a f***ing legend.’

Frankie Schofield said: ‘Christmas is saved.’

Drew Horton said: ‘Christmas Eve sorted lad, we’re now business partners.’

Jessica Dixon said: ‘Business venture girls?’

Chris Macey said: ‘That’s your mum employed as chef and your dad employed as chief washer upper.’

Public health expert is blasted by GMB viewers for ‘fat shaming’ Santa and saying he’s a Covid risk by visiting homes… while Britons are worried about spending Christmas apart 

A public health expert has been blasted for ‘fat shaming’ Santa and claiming he’s a Covid risk by visiting homes, as anxious Britons fear spending Christmas apart from their families.

Social media users took to Twitter to slam comments made by Professor Emer Shelley in a tongue-in-cheek section of Good Morning Britain today.

Professor Shelley, of Public Health Medicine Ireland, appeared on the ITV show, where she explained that Father Christmas had undergone a serious risk assessment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Social media users took to the Twitter to slam comments made by Professor Emer Shelly in a tongue-in-cheek section of Good Morning Britain today

Social media users took to the Twitter to slam comments made by Professor Emer Shelly in a tongue-in-cheek section of Good Morning Britain today

She described him as being a ‘risk of transmitting the virus’, that he was ‘not exactly thin’ and that he would be ‘at risk of being admitted to intensive care’.

Studies have shown obese people may suffer more from Covid-19 because their weight damages their immune system.

But Professor Shelley said Father Christmas would still be able to visit homes because he ‘won’t come across anybody’ and he ‘travels so quickly’.

However, the mock report was met with a mixed reaction on Twitter, with some slamming Professor Shelley for ‘fat shaming Santa’.

One, Louise Robson, said: ‘Have I seriously just heard a doctor on GMB fat shaming Santa Claus? Christmas spirit eh?’ 

Another, including an image saying ‘right…’ said: ‘The people on GMB doing a full analysis of whether Santa is at risk from coronavirus due to his age/weight and deciding on whether he is a super spreader…’

Jonathan Eley said: ‘Can’t quite believe I’m watching Ireland’s top public health official discussing Santa Claus’s vulnerability to Covid on GMB “he is quite obese and so high risk”.’

Another added: ‘I’ve accidentally switched on GMB to hear a group of adults discussing whether Santa could visit this year and if he does, would he be a super spreader?! I’m going to bed.’

Julie Kinsey took a similar line, saying: ‘I can’t believe this panel of experts were also discussing whether Santa should do worldwide travel at Christmas when he is clinically obese and at greater risk of contracting Covid. Back to bed for me!’ 

Others took an even stronger line, with one branding the talk ‘disgusting’. 

Police tell Boris to save Christmas and reveal festive lockdown plan NOW: Crime commissioner says UK needs ‘clarity not chaos’ so families can start planning and blasts ‘confusing rush’ of last-minute changes 

by Dan Sales 

Boris Johnson was warned by a police commissioner today he needed to get a grip on lockdown plans for Christmas and deliver ‘clarity not chaos’.

In a strongly-worded assessment of The Prime Minister’s previous last-minute switches, his government’s release of 11th hour restrictions were branded ‘a confusing rush’.

And in the most damning take on the Tories’ communication skills, one force figure told MailOnline it often got new rules ‘just hours before, or even after, the law comes in to effect’. 

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness said the coronvirus pandemic had seen the public understand and agree with most of them.

But she added: ‘There has been growing frustration at how often these rules are imposed in a confusing rush.

‘We urgently need the Prime Minister to set out now the lockdown restrictions we are likely to face over Christmas, so families will know which loved ones they will be able to share Christmas with.

‘We need to avoid a repeat of the situation we have seen far too often this year in which the Government announces new restrictions but only hands police the detailed guidance on what is and isn’t enforceable just hours before, or even after, the law comes in to effect.

‘The police can’t pick and choose which laws to uphold, and what the force needs, and what the public needs, is clarity from the Prime Minister on what laws will be in place at Christmas so families and others can start planning now.

‘Of course I encourage people to follow the rules that are imposed to help keep everyone safe this winter but we need to know what they will be – the country needs clarity not chaos.’

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness slammed the government

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness slammed the government

A map showing how police forces have said they will tackle the Christmas period

A map showing how police forces have said they will tackle the Christmas period

The passionate comments from the police commissioner came after a MailOnline investigation showed more police forces from across the UK have confirmed they will enforce coronavirus restrictions if they are broken over Christmas.

The probe into the England and Wales’ 43 constabularies uncovered differences in approach ranging from intervening in gatherings to welcoming visitors.

But other forces have been unable to plan their tactics, because they simply have no idea what Tier – and the subsequent rules – their area will fall in by December 25.

Two MPs have also rounded on the possibility Christmas could be disrupted, telling The Sun people needed a break. 

David Jones said: ‘All people want is a quiet, happy Christmas with their families. They’ve had a dreadful year, so let’s give them a break.’

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith added: ‘This is utter nonsense. This is not some totalitarian state like China. It’s time for the Government to stand down these jobsworth Christmas turkeys.’

A YouGov poll suggested nearly a fifth of Brits would break the Rule of Six for Christmas

A YouGov poll suggested nearly a fifth of Brits would break the Rule of Six for Christmas

Christmas dinner is feared to be under threat from strict coronavirus gathering restrictions

Christmas dinner is feared to be under threat from strict coronavirus gathering restrictions

It comes after a YouGov poll revealed just 68 per cent of respondents would abide by the Rule of Six over the size of social gatherings.

And the Government has indicated that it will act to stop large family gatherings this Christmas, with Environment Secretary George Eustice today warning that even festive gatherings that adhere to the Rule of Six could be outlawed if they include people living in different lockdown tiers.

The possibility of large groups receiving a knock on the door as they settle down for Christmas dinner was first hinted at yesterday. 

Greater Manchester Police, the Metropolitan Police Service and Merseyside Police all directed enquiries to the NPCC, who issued a statement confirming they could ‘enforce as a last resort’. 

The National Police Chiefs’ Council comment said: ‘We understand that this is a period where people want to be with their loved ones, celebrating this holiday.

We police against the regulations that are in law, and everybody has their part to play to help protect local communities and loved ones and we are confident people will adhere to the rules and help us to reduce the risk of transmission.

There are three levels for tiers and different restrictions for the areas placed into them

There are three levels for tiers and different restrictions for the areas placed into them

WHAT ARE THE RULES IN DIFFERENT TIERS OF LOCKDOWN?

TIER ONE 

Tier one restrictions mirror those already in place across England.

These include the rule of six, a 10pm curfew, group sport to be played outdoors only and a maximum of 15 guests at wedding ceremonies.  

TIER TWO 

Tier two restrictions mean people are prohibited from socialising with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting

Two households may be allowed to meet in a private garden and public outdoor spaces, as long as the rule of six and social distancing are followed.

Tradespeople – such as plumbers and electricians – can continue to go into a household for work. 

TIER THREE 

Restaurants can open, but only until 10pm. 

Pubs and bars will be ordered to close unless they also operate as a restaurant.

This definition extends to pubs which sell ‘substantial’ meals, which like restaurants will be allowed to stay open but only serve alcohol to people eating a meal.

Locals are advised only to leave their areas for essential travel such as work, education or health, and must return before the end of the day.

Overnight stays by those from outside of these ‘high risk’ areas are also be banned. Households are not be allowed to mix either indoors or outdoors.     

‘The police’s approach remains to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules in the first instance and enforce as a last resort, where there are clear breach of the rules taking place.’

A spokesperson for Merseyside’s Police and Crime Commissioner Jane Kennedy added: ‘Enforcement is always a last resort but will be used where necessary.’

On Tuesday David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and commissioner, said officers would investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive period.

He said: ‘If we think there’s large groups of people gathering where they shouldn’t be, then police will have to intervene.

‘If, again, there’s flagrant breaking of the rules, then the police would have to enforce.’

The approach was softer in some areas, with Norfolk, Cumbria, Hertfordshire, and Devon and Cornwall saying they would be ‘sensible and fair’ and did not mention enforcement.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly,said legal gatherings of six were still possible.

She told MailOnline: ‘Exceptions to the rule of six include support bubbles, so even if there’s no change to the regulations by Christmas people will be able to gather with support bubbles that could include an adult who lives by themselves or an adult with children under the age of 18.

‘Just as I have done with my mum. Christmas is a really important time of year, it can also be a time of huge stress for people, and while many are enjoying themselves we also see annual increases in levels of domestic violence and suicide.

‘I’d urge people to make sensible, practical plans for the Christmas break that take account of the rules that protect our most vulnerable, but also those who might experience bouts of loneliness.

‘It’s also a tough time of year for emergency services workers, who will be working while others relax and enjoy themselves.

‘We can all make their lives easier by obeying by the simple regulations set out by Government.

‘Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are low risk counties in terms of Covid-19 risk and so providing people are sensible and respectful, we will be welcoming visitors from parts of the country with similarly low infection rates.’

Environment Secretary George Eustice said that even festive gatherings that adhere to the Rule of Six could be outlawed if they include people living in different lockdown tiers

Environment Secretary George Eustice said that even festive gatherings that adhere to the Rule of Six could be outlawed if they include people living in different lockdown tiers

David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, said officers will investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive period

David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, said officers will investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive period

The West Midlands are currently under Tier 2 restrictions, meaning people cannot mix with any other households or bubbles inside

Police approach in other areas was not as clear, with forces unable to answer for varying reasons.

Northumbria Police explained: ‘This isn’t something we would be able to comment on at this time as we do not know which restrictions will be in place over the Christmas period.

‘Our officers will continue to follow the national guidance and police using their common sense, like they have throughout the pandemic.’

South Wales Police said their tactics would be informed by Government policy at the time of the season.

A spokesman said: ‘It will depend on what restrictions are introduced by Welsh or UK government at the time.’

Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Cleveland Police also said their approach would depend on what tier setting their districts were placed in.

Meanwhile, the Environment Secretary told LBC this morning that festive gatherings that adhere to the Rule of Six could be outlawed if they include people living in different lockdown tiers. 

Mr Eustice said it is ‘too early to say’ how lockdowns could affect festivities, but added: ‘Obviously if we do need to have restrictions in place, and prevent families from coming together in large gatherings, if that’s necessary to control the virus that’s what we’ll have to do.’

Asked on Times Radio if families from different tiers would be able to spend Christmas together, he added this is ‘not provided for currently’. 

Mr Eustice was speaking after a police chief warned that Christmas family celebrations could be broken up by police officers entering homes if they flout lockdown rules.

David Jamieson, the West Midlands police and crime commissioner, said officers will investigate reports of rule-breaking over the festive period.

The West Midlands is currently under Tier 2 restrictions, meaning people cannot mix with any other households or bubbles inside.

Mr Jamieson told The Telegraph: ‘If we think there’s large groups of people gathering where they shouldn’t be, then police will have to intervene. If, again, there’s flagrant breaking of the rules, then the police would have to enforce.

‘It’s not the police’s job to stop people enjoying their Christmas. However, we are there to enforce the rules that the Government makes, and if the Government makes those rules then the Government has to explain that to the public.’

The police chief also warned about the upcoming Hanukkah and Diwali celebrations which will also see families eager to gather inside, contrary to the rules in certain areas. 

Mr Jamieson was speaking a day after police in Wales were compared to 'Communist China' for raiding a Cardiff church service

Mr Jamieson was speaking a day after police in Wales were compared to ‘Communist China’ for raiding a Cardiff church service

Police chiefs have warned that Christmas family celebrations will be broken up by officers if they flout lockdown rules

Police chiefs have warned that Christmas family celebrations will be broken up by officers if they flout lockdown rules

The three-tier system was introduced earlier this month in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in regional hotspots.

Today broadcaster and peer Baroness (Joan) Bakewell spoke about the ‘moral imperatives of caring and loving for each other’, telling the BBC: ‘It seems to me that many older people might be prepared to take the risk. 

‘How many Christmases have you got left in your life that you’re prepared to give up one just for the sake of perhaps living a little longer?

‘I think it’s going to be a moral decision that families are going to have to take. You can’t legalise it, you can’t police it, so people are thrown on their own resources to work this out for themselves.’

Jane Kennedy, the PCC in Merseyside, which is currently a Tier 3 region, said she would also investigate reports of illegal gatherings over Christmas.

Mr Jamieson said he fears civil unrest could boil over in the West Midlands in the near future, with the end of the furlough scheme ‘very likely’ to push people over the edge.  

He said: ‘We’re sitting on a time bomb here. We’re getting very near the stage where you could see a considerable explosion of frustration and energy. Things are very on the edge in a lot of communities and it wouldn’t take very much to spark off unrest, riots, damage.’ 

The police chief even compared the febrile situation to the 2011 riots sparked by the death of Mark Duggan, which saw violence spread across UK cities. 

He fears the trigger this time could be heavy-handed police forces shutting down celebrations and enforcing harsh restrictions.

He said people who have never been involved in crime could suddenly become emboldened to take part in the disobedience.

Forces in Manchester, London and Merseyside are concerned about potential violence, he added.

But Ms Kennedy disagreed, saying she doesn’t believe we are on the brink of serious disorder.

Their comments come after BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire admitted that if the rule of six were still in place by Christmas, she would ignore it.

Mr Jamieson said he fears civil unrest could boil over in the West Midlands in the near future, with the end of the furlough scheme 'very likely' to push people over the edge

Mr Jamieson said he fears civil unrest could boil over in the West Midlands in the near future, with the end of the furlough scheme ‘very likely’ to push people over the edge

She later backtracked from this stance, but her initial statement reflected an increasingly widespread disenchantment with the current rules. 

The idea that ‘we can carry on as we are’ and have a normal Christmas ‘is wishful thinking in the extreme’, a Government scientific adviser has said.

Professor John Edmunds, a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), said ‘radical action’ would be needed to stem the rise in coronavirus cases, particularly in regions with high incidence of the virus.

Prof Edmunds, who told MPs that tens of thousands of deaths could occur during this wave of the pandemic, said further measures are needed to bring cases down.

The idea that 'we can carry on as we are' and have a normal Christmas 'is wishful thinking in the extreme', a Government scientific adviser has said

The idea that ‘we can carry on as we are’ and have a normal Christmas ‘is wishful thinking in the extreme’, a Government scientific adviser has said

He said that a circuit-breaker is needed across the whole country or at least in areas where incidence is high.

‘The only way that we can have a relatively safe and normal Christmas is if we take radical action now to reduce incidence – at the very least in high incidence areas – and keep the incidence low across the country by implementing a package of measures to reduce social contacts,’ he said.

‘The notion that we can carry on as we are and have a Christmas that we can celebrate normally with friends and family is wishful thinking in the extreme.’  

A No10 spokesman previously said: ‘The PM has been clear previously that he is hopeful that in many ways we could be able to get some aspects of our lives back to normal by Christmas. 

The Government has not made any decisions about Christmas yet but many are preparing for restrictions to still be in place

The Government has not made any decisions about Christmas yet but many are preparing for restrictions to still be in place

‘As I say, we’ve been clear about the ambition to ensure that people may celebrate Christmas as a family this year.’

The comments contrasted with the stance taken by Treasury Chief Secretary Steve Barclay in a round of interviews on Friday morning. 

He said: ‘I think few people expect it to be exactly as it would normally because we will be living with this virus for some time.

‘And the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser have been very clear on that.

‘But, your point really was about the ability of families to spend Christmas together – that is something we all hope to be in a position to do.’ 

Students face a nightmare before AND after Christmas with a fortnight of self-isolation on campus then another two weeks at home following festive break – as Oxford halls is latest to lockdown after 91 positive tests 

Students are facing a nightmare before and after Christmas this year with ministers planning to force them into two periods of self-isolation this winter, according to reports.

In a rushed bid to prevent the spread of coronavirus from university cities to more rural areas, ministers are said to be drawing up plans to order students to isolate in their halls of residence before leaving for the winter break.

They will then be ordered to carry out a second period of isolation before they return to their universities, according to The Times.

Ministers are said to be drawing up plans to order students to isolate in their halls of residence before leaving for the winter break. Pictured: Students put up signs in their window during isolation earlier this year

Ministers are said to be drawing up plans to order students to isolate in their halls of residence before leaving for the winter break. Pictured: Students put up signs in their window during isolation earlier this year

It also comes as two universities, Durham and De Montfort in Leicester (pictured), have reportedly began trials to test asymptomatic Britons, with the Department of Health and Social Care

It also comes as two universities, Durham and De Montfort in Leicester (pictured), have reportedly began trials to test asymptomatic Britons, with the Department of Health and Social Care

Ministers are in a race against time to prepare the plans, with some universities breaking for Christmas as early as December 7, and are said to be working with vice-chancellors in order to give them enough time to prepare. 

It comes as halls of residence at the University of Oxford have been placed in lockdown due to a spike in Covid-19 cases. 

University College has told all students at accommodation in North Oxford to stay within their households, following 91 positive coronavirus tests.

This is the second Oxbridge college to go into lockdown, after Homerton College in Cambridge.  

It also comes as two universities, Durham and De Montfort in Leicester, have reportedly began trials to test asymptomatic Britons, with the Department of Health and Social Care.  

Meanwhile, top ministers believe they can get the UK’s devolved authorities on-board with plans for the winter break, according to The Times

Thousands of students leave England to study in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with many undergraduates also coming the other way. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk