Covid lockdown UK: Police are called to ‘break up party at £12,000-a-week rented Mayfair flat’


Police were last night called to a lockdown-flouting Valentine’s Day party held at an exclusive £12,000-per-week rented Mayfair flat once home to Hollywood star Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

Metropolitan Police officers were flagged down by members of the public amid reports that rule-breakers were gathering inside the 5,921 square foot luxury property in Central London. 

However, MailOnline understands that police left the location without making arrests or imposing fines as the revellers did not let them into the building and ignored attempts by the force to be asked questions. 

Under current lockdown laws, police can take action against Britons who meet in 15-person, including breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines – from £200 for the first offence, doubling to a maximum of £6,400.  

If people hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000. People attending illegal house parties face £800 fines as police tighten their clampdown on rule-breaking.  

But the law does not allow police to enter a private property without a warrant – meaning that rule-breakers who refuse officers entry will be let off even if they are informed on by their neighbours. 

It comes amid a ‘heavy-handed’ police crackdown on lockdown flouters, with motorists coming into London today being stopped, quizzed about their intentions and reminded that only ‘essential journeys’ are permitted. 

Police were last night called to a lockdown-flouting Valentine’s Day party held at an exclusive £12,000-per-week rented Mayfair flat once owned by Hollywood star Douglas Fairbanks Jr

Metropolitan Police officers were flagged down by members of the public amid reports that rule-breakers were gathering inside the 5,921 square foot luxury property in Central London

Metropolitan Police officers were flagged down by members of the public amid reports that rule-breakers were gathering inside the 5,921 square foot luxury property in Central London

However, MailOnline understands that police left the location without making arrests or imposing fines as the revellers did not let them into the building and ignored attempts by the force to speak to them

However, MailOnline understands that police left the location without making arrests or imposing fines as the revellers did not let them into the building and ignored attempts by the force to speak to them

It is thought the revellers were partying at a Grade II-listed Park Lane property overlooking Hyde Park built in 1823 and once owned by Douglas Fairbanks Jr, best known for starring in such films as The Prisoner of Zenda, Gunga Din and The Corsican Brothers

It is thought the revellers were partying at a Grade II-listed Park Lane property overlooking Hyde Park built in 1823 and once owned by Douglas Fairbanks Jr, best known for starring in such films as The Prisoner of Zenda, Gunga Din and The Corsican Brothers

What are the rules around gatherings? 

Under current Covid laws, you must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. 

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

People attending illegal house parties face £800 fines as police tighten their clampdown on rule-breaking.  

The fines will double for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £6,400. Hosts of illegal parties are already liable for a £10,000 fine.

A force spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Police were flagged down in Park Lane W1 at 00:25hrs on Sunday, 14 February after a number of people were reported to be gathered inside an address.

‘Officers attempted to speak to the occupants without response. They later left the location.’

It is thought the revellers were partying at a Grade II-listed Park Lane property overlooking Hyde Park built in 1823 and once owned by Douglas Fairbanks Jr, best known for starring in such films as The Prisoner of Zenda, Gunga Din and The Corsican Brothers. 

A step inside the iconic 5,921 square foot luxury property reveals a private swimming pool and sauna, four bedrooms, five bathrooms and three reception rooms.

The apartment, that once saw the likes of actor Laurence Olivier, playwright Noel Coward and banking tycoon Sir Moses Montefiore walk through its doors, is now on the market for one lucky person looking to rent in the capital.

Inside the 99 Park Lane Georgian residence, which costs £11,500 per week to rent and comes fully furnished, is a stunning terrace, an open plan dining room and walk through wardrobes.

The expensive property also features a passenger lift, its own private driveway and marble floors.  

Fairbanks Jr, who is the only child of actor Douglas Fairbanks, is known to have thrown an array of Hollywood parties during his time at the posh residence.  

Under current Covid laws, people must not leave or be outside of your home except where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. 

The police can take action against Britons who meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

People can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

If people hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000. People attending illegal house parties face £800 fines as police tighten their clampdown on rule-breaking.  

A step inside the iconic 5,921 square foot luxury property reveals a private swimming pool and sauna, four bedrooms, five bathrooms and three reception rooms

A step inside the iconic 5,921 square foot luxury property reveals a private swimming pool and sauna, four bedrooms, five bathrooms and three reception rooms

The apartment, that once saw the likes of actor Laurence Olivier, playwright Noel Coward and banking tycoon Sir Moses Montefiore walk through its doors, is now on the market for one lucky person looking to rent in the capital

The apartment, that once saw the likes of actor Laurence Olivier, playwright Noel Coward and banking tycoon Sir Moses Montefiore walk through its doors, is now on the market for one lucky person looking to rent in the capital

Inside the 99 Park Lane Georgian residence, which costs £11,500 per week to rent and comes fully furnished, is a stunning terrace, an open plan dining room and walk through wardrobes

Inside the 99 Park Lane Georgian residence, which costs £11,500 per week to rent and comes fully furnished, is a stunning terrace, an open plan dining room and walk through wardrobes

The expensive property also features a passenger lift, its own private driveway and marble floors. Fairbanks Jr, who is the only child of actor Douglas Fairbanks, is known to have thrown an array of Hollywood parties during his time at the posh residence

The expensive property also features a passenger lift, its own private driveway and marble floors. Fairbanks Jr, who is the only child of actor Douglas Fairbanks, is known to have thrown an array of Hollywood parties during his time at the posh residence

The apartment was once the home of American actor and producer Douglas Fairbanks Jr and his second wife Mary Lee Eppling from 1934 to 1941

The apartment was once the home of American actor and producer Douglas Fairbanks Jr and his second wife Mary Lee Eppling from 1934 to 1941

ALL children back in school from March 8 and you can have a picnic in the park: Dominic Raab says education is the ‘top priority’ as government prepares lockdown loosening with pubs and restaurants ‘set for al fresco reopening in APRIL’ 

Boris Johnson is set to order the reopening of all schools from March 8 with picnics in the park back on the agenda and ‘al fresco’ meet-ups in pubs allowed from April, it was claimed today.

The PM is preparing a loosening of the draconian coronavirus restrictions on everyday life amid massive pressure from Tory MPs who fear huge collateral damage is being done to the country and economy.   

Under the ‘roadmap’ – due to be unveiled on February 22 – all primary and secondary schools could return from March 8.

However, at the same time people could be allowed to sit and chat on park benches with a friend, and have picnics with their household ‘bubble’ – something that is currently banned. 

The current thinking in No10 is that the beleaguered hospitality industry could lift its shutters from the beginning of April.

In a break from previous rules, the 10pm curfew and the requirement to have a substantial meal with alcohol will be abandoned. Restrictions on sports such as tennis and golf, where social distancing is easier, are likely to be eased in April. 

The local ‘tiers’ system that was in place before the blanket lockdown is being ditched, with England due to move as a whole through the next phases of relaxation.   

In interviews this morning, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab  said ‘our priority will be schools’, but warned it is too early to be sure what will be possible as more data will come in over the next week. ‘It is absolutely right that until we change the rules we need full compliance,’ he said.  

Details of the blueprint started to leak out at as Mr Johnson gets ready to celebrate meeting his target of vaccinating the 15million most vulnerable people in the UK by tomorrow.

In his most upbeat assessment for weeks, Mr Johnson yesterday said: ‘I won’t hide it from you. I’m optimistic, but we have to be cautious.’ 

The Tory Coronavirus Research Group, which includes around 70 MPs, has been demanding that all coronavirus restrictions are removed by May, when around 32million people in the top nine categories are due to have been given jabs. 

The fines will double for each repeat offence, up to a maximum of £6,400. Hosts of illegal parties are already liable for a £10,000 fine.

It comes as police step up patrols today as the third lockdown continues to interrupt normal life, preventing couples who have lived apart during the pandemic from meeting each other on Valentine’s Day.

A Metropolitan police source said last night: ‘I’m going to be spending my Valentine’s Day ruining people’s Valentine’s Days’ and joked that officers could end up asking male drivers: ‘Is that your wife, sir?’

The force has not routinely conducted regular spot checks on drivers as part of its Covid rule enforcement before now.

Sir Ian Duncan Smith, the former Conservative party leader, said the operation – to focus on West London – was ‘heavy-handed’ adding: ‘If people are just having a quiet Valentine’s Day, why should we be stopping them? We’re not a police state.’

The police source said it is meant primarily as a ‘deterrent’, adding: ‘Most police officers are loath to hand out fines. If people apologise then they will mostly get off with a warning.’

It is currently against the law for people to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of one household or support bubble. 

Announcing the lockdown last month, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as to shop for essentials, to work if you absolutely cannot work from home, to exercise, to seek medical assistance such as getting a Covid test, or to escape domestic abuse.’

Failing to stay at home without a valid reason can result in a £200 fine, which falls to £100 if paid within 14 days.

A Home Office source said ‘visibility is important’ and praised the police for the way it has approached enforcement. The source said the focus is on: ‘Engage, encourage and explain, and enforce as last resort.’

The level of enforcement of lockdown rules varies from force to force.  Some have refused to hand out many fines, while Derbyshire Police have been accused of being ‘over-zealous’ in issuing £200 fines to people for visiting beauty spots. 

And police in Cornwall have stopped drivers who took to the roads last month to ‘watch the sunset’. 

It is understood Ministers are keen on introducing a more consistent strategy across the country, instead of each force interpreting rules in its own way.

Last night the Met’s press office said it was not aware of the Valentine’s Day operation.

It comes as Boris Johnson is set to order the reopening of all schools from March 8 with picnics in the park back on the agenda and ‘al fresco’ meet-ups in pubs allowed from April, it was claimed today.

The PM is preparing a loosening of the draconian coronavirus restrictions on everyday life amid massive pressure from Tory MPs who fear huge collateral damage is being done to the country and economy.   

Under the ‘roadmap’ – due to be unveiled on February 22 – all primary and secondary schools could return from March 8.

However, at the same time people could be allowed to sit and chat on park benches with a friend, and have picnics with their household ‘bubble’ – something that is currently banned. 

Do YOU know who was at the party? Email jack.wright@mailonline.co.uk.

Amanda Holden is reported to police for breaching Covid rules after she travelled 200 miles to visit her parents in Cornwall following ‘distressing’ family phone call – as she prepares to celebrate her 50th birthday on Tuesday

Amanda Holden has been reported to police after breaking lockdown rules in a 215-mile trip from London to Cornwall.

The Britain’s Got Talent judge went to see her parents after she got a ‘distressing phone call’ from her stepfather Les Collister.

The 49-year-old took a black Mercedes from Richmond to a small hamlet near Bude to see the 75-year-old and her 71-year-old mother Judith on Friday.

Locals were up in arms at her arrival, said she was putting residents at risk and reported her to the police.

She was spotted by a neighbour – thought to be a police officer – who is understood to have reported her for breaching Covid travel restrictions.

It is understood the star stayed overnight on Friday before making the return journey to her house in south west London yesterday.

The Britain's Got Talent judge (pictured yesterday) went to see her parents after she got a 'distressing phone call' from her father Leslie

The Britain’s Got Talent judge (pictured yesterday) went to see her parents after she got a ‘distressing phone call’ from her father Leslie

The 49-year-old took a black Mercedes from Richmond to a small hamlet near Bude to see the 75-year-old and her 71-year-old mother Judith (pictured) on Friday

The 49-year-old took a black Mercedes from Richmond to a small hamlet near Bude to see the 75-year-old and her 71-year-old mother Judith (pictured) on Friday

She was spotted by a neighbour – thought to be a police officer – who is understood to have reported her for breaching Covid travel restrictions. Pictured: Bude - a town in Cornwall near to where the parents of the Britain's Got Talent star live

She was spotted by a neighbour – thought to be a police officer – who is understood to have reported her for breaching Covid travel restrictions. Pictured: Bude – a town in Cornwall near to where the parents of the Britain’s Got Talent star live

One local told the Sun: ‘I was really shocked when I saw it and then felt quite angry. A man unloaded quite a lot of luggage from the boot and then the car sped off.

‘There are a lot of key workers and vulnerable people around here, and we need to keep them safe.’

They added: ‘They also know she had travelled miles from Surrey to get down here and she dashed into the house. She must have known what she was doing was wrong.’

Ms Holden is a well-known figure in the area after visiting her parents before the pandemic but residents were still furious.

Friends of Ms Holden said although she knew she should not have made the journey, she was so concerned about her parents’ welfare she felt she had no option.

One said: ‘Amanda got a call on Friday afternoon and felt she had no other choice but to get down there as quickly as she could.

The 49-year-old took a black Mercedes from Richmond to a small hamlet near Bude to see the 75-year-old and her 71-year-old mother Judith on Friday. Pictured: Yesterday

The 49-year-old took a black Mercedes from Richmond to a small hamlet near Bude to see the 75-year-old and her 71-year-old mother Judith on Friday. Pictured: Yesterday

‘Because of the issues involved with their health, she knew she had to go – there was no way she couldn’t.

‘She knows she has done something wrong and she is regretful but until you are in that moment, how can you judge?

‘In order to ensure she posed as little risk as possible, she drove alone, leaving her husband and daughters at home.

‘She did not come into contact with anyone else.’

It was claimed Ms Holden arrived after dark, but her spokesman said she got there at 4pm and had just one bag.

He said she was aware of the rules but was ‘devastated she had to break them’.

He told MailOnline: ‘Amanda is aware that all families are going through difficulty during these turbulent times but received a distressing telephone call from her elderly father on Friday afternoon.

‘On balance Amanda felt the round-trip to Cornwall was necessary to contain the matter at her family home.

‘The very personal situation has now been aided and Amanda is back in London.

‘Amanda did not act on a whim and has adhered to Covid rules every step of the way in all three lockdowns.

‘Amanda is aware of the travel rules and is devastated she had to break them on this one occasion.

‘Her parents are vaccinated and with Amanda testing for Covid weekly (and is negative), she felt she was not putting her parents at risk. She did not come in contact with any member of the public.’

Devon and Cornwall Police refused to comment. Today, in a social media post which made no reference to the star’s visit, Cornwall Council posted a video urging ‘everyone to stick to the rules this half-term’.

The video, which was accompanied by the caption ‘We know it’s tough. But this won’t last forever’, featured members of the council’s public health team speaking about how they would be staying at home next week.

It comes as Ms Holden approaches her 50th birthday on Tuesday and said she felt ‘so grateful and overwhelmed at the thought and love’ her Heart Radio colleagues put into her celebrations.

She was surprised with 50 presents by her radio colleagues to mark the occasion.

They included a massage chair, flowers, prosecco, a margarita cocktail, a roast dinner and a cake.

Ms Holden approaches her 50th birthday on Tuesday and said she felt 'so grateful and overwhelmed at the thought and love' her Heart Radio colleagues put into her celebrations

Ms Holden approaches her 50th birthday on Tuesday and said she felt ‘so grateful and overwhelmed at the thought and love’ her Heart Radio colleagues put into her celebrations

Her co-host Jamie Theakston told listeners: ‘Our very own Amanda Holden is celebrating her birthday – as a gentleman I wouldn’t say how old – but what we thought we would do is pull together 50 of her favourite things.’

An advertising board outside the radio studio also displayed a birthday message to Holden.

She wrote on Instagram: ‘So grateful and overwhelmed at the thought and love they’ve put into it.’

Holden shared the message alongside a photo of her drinking prosecco, which she said was taken at 6.30am.

A number of her friends also sent her birthday messages.

Her fellow Britain’s Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon said: ‘Happy 50th birthday to my amazing TV wife.

‘I love you very, very much and I’m absolutely gutted that we cannot celebrate today and celebrate with you, as you deserve to be celebrated, on this incredibly momentous occasion.

‘Your 50th birthday! You still look 25, woman!’

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan called in to the show to wish Holden a happy birthday.

‘I’ve actually got out of bed on my day off just to pay homage to the queen, Amanda Holden,’ he said.

‘You know what, I just think, seeing pictures of you drinking prosecco at 6.30am in the morning, it brings back such fond memories of working with you on Britain’s Got Talent.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk