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Police break up 400-strong wedding at north London school

Written by on 22/01/2021

A wedding party with 400 guests held at a north London school was broken up by police.

The organiser is now facing a £10,000 fine for breaching COVID-19 regulations following the event at Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School in Stamford Hill on Thursday evening, the Met Police said.

When officers arrived at the school in Egerton Road at about 9.40pm, they found around 400 people inside gathered for a wedding, with the building’s windows covered to stop people seeing inside.

Many of the guests fled when police arrived, the force said.

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Detective Chief Superintendent Marcus Barnett said: “This was a completely unacceptable breach of the law, which is very clearly in place to save lives and protect the NHS.

“People across the country are making sacrifices by cancelling or postponing weddings and other celebrations and there is no excuse for this type of behaviour.”

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Five guests at the wedding were issued with £200 fixed penalty notices.

A statement from the Charedi orthodox Jewish school, whose principal, Rabbi Avrahom Pinter, died in April after contracting coronavirus, said the hall had been leased to an outside organisation and they had “no knowledge that the wedding was taking place”.

A spokesman said: “We are absolutely horrified about last night’s event and condemn it in the strongest possible terms.”

Yesoday Hatorah Girls Senior School
Image: The school said it did not know the wedding was taking place

Under current lockdown rules, weddings and civil partnerships can only take place with up to six people.

Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville said the school had been written to for hosting similar events during the pandemic and he was “shocked” it had continued to break the rules.

“I am deeply disappointed that events of this nature are still happening in Stamford Hill, despite the very grave pandemic situation we find ourselves in, and the number of lives that have already been lost in the Charedi community and across the borough,” he said.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said the “reckless and dangerous behaviour” did not “represent the vast majority of British Jews”.

“We unreservedly condemn this flagrant and disgraceful breach of Covid-19 regulations, which goes against Jewish teaching that preserving life is of the highest value,” she said.

It comes after the home secretary announced a new £800 fine yesterday for those who flout coronavirus rules by attending house parties.

At the Downing Street news conference, Priti Patel said: “Such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health – not only to those in attendance, but also our wonderful police officers.

“We will not stand by while a small number of individuals put others at risk.”

 Sky News

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