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26 people fined for lockdown breach at illegal poker party

A total of 26 people have each been fined £800 ($1,100) for breaching Covid-19 restrictions at an illegal poker party.

lancashire police

Lancashire Police found the tournament taking place in a room above Roberto’s Bar in Blackburn on 6 March, with bodycam footage capturing the scenes. Police said people taking part in the illegal tournament had travelled from as far as Nottingham and St Helens.

The £800 fines were issued to 26 people and the organiser, while the person responsible for the building has been reported for a court summons. Those in attendance were playing poker across two tables, with food and drink being consumed.

Roberto’s Bar on social media site Facebook has denied the gathering took place within its premises. Lancashire Police confirmed it is now working alongside Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council to consider whether to seek a review of the establishment’s licence.

"This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable and not only potentially puts lives in danger, it also risks extending the lockdown yet further,” said Sgt Steve Dundon, who also urged the public to “act responsibly and do the right thing in order to keep the people of Lancashire safe.”

Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods added that the party was “particularly insulting to the NHS staff who risked their lives to treat people with Covid.”

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