Three students at the University of East Anglia (UEA) have been fined £10,000 each for hosting a house party where up to 100 people attended.
The students, who were meant to be self-isolating after showing Covid-19 symptoms, threw a party at their house in Norwich.
Norfolk Police were called to the house in Bowthorpe Road, near the university campus, a little after 1am on Sunday (11 October) morning and disassembled the party.
When they got there, they found up to 100 people inside. One 19-year-old woman and two 20-year-old women were each individually issued a fixed penalty notice of £10,000 for breaching restrictions of holding a gathering of more than 30 people.
Under the coronavirus restrictions, a maximum of six people are allowed to meet at once, but this depends on the local Covid alert level.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Norfolk Police announced: “As a police force, we fully appreciate how difficult the past six months have been for the county and we are pleased that the vast of majority of people have played and continue to play their part, following the guidance and legislation helping to protect Norfolk and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“However, the infection rate is now rising rapidly across the country and we must carry on working together to keep everyone safe. We will all have a role to play in keeping our county safe going forward and we won’t hesitate to take action if needed as yesterday demonstrated.
Students, like everyone else, have to adhere to the law and where there is a breach of the rules they should expect to face the same consequences as others in the community
– University of East Anglia
“We will not sit back and allow people to deliberately break the law and we won’t hesitate to take action as demonstrated by Sunday’s events.”
A spokesperson for the UEA confirmed that the university “fully supports” the action taken by the police and they are liaising with the police to ensure students are adhering to the current restrictions.
“Students, like everyone else, have to adhere to the law and where there is a breach of the rules they should expect to face the same consequences as others in the community.”
The university has also issued regular reminders about following the protocols to all students both on campus and off campus and stated that the vast majority of their students are behaving responsibly.
UEA’s students’ union said the actions of the students were “not acceptable”, but added that the £10,000 fine was “disproportionate”.
“Students are not exempt from the law, but we believe the life-altering fine of £10,000 with no right of appeal for the hosts is disproportionate and would caution the university to bear this in mind during their own investigation.”