More illegal festive house parties were held in Tayside than anywhere else in Scotland, new figures have revealed.
According to statistics from Police Scotland, officers in Tayside had to break up 315 house parties for breaching coronavirus guidelines between November 16, 2020 and January 3, 2021.
This included a Hogmanay party which was broken up after videos were posted on social media, 40 people watching football together, and an after-work party with 60 employees in attendance.
For the week from December 21 until December 27, which includes the single Christmas Day relaxation of coronavirus restrictions, 12.9% of all illegal house parties in Scotland were in Tayside, which is the highest rate in the country.
99 house parties took place in one week
And from 28 December until 3 January, covering the Hogmanay and New Year period, 16.9% of all illegal house parties were in Tayside.
A total of 99 house parties were broken up during that week, including one with “reasonable force”, with 80 of these parties taking place between Hogmanay and January 3.
According to Police Scotland, a Hogmanay house party in Dundee was broken up after videos were posted on Facebook by the revellers.
Initially the partygoers refused to allow the police officers to come in and even threatened to defend themselves, causing officers to call for specialist units to attend as back-up.
Once the specialist units arrived entry to the party was gained and five fines were issued, with 10 people being dispersed.
40 people fled from police at Dundee party
On 27 November a party was also discovered at two large lodges in Dundee, with police describing “numerous cars going in and out” with around 40 partygoers fleeing the scene when officers arrived.
Five women in the lodges were given a fine for breaching coronavirus restrictions and as drug paraphernalia was found inside, there is now an ongoing investigation.
On 19 December officers were called to break up a Christmas work party in Dundee with 60 people after officers found a number of social media posts.
The manager of the business had allowed staff to stay behind after hours for food and “didn’t think it would be an issue as they all work together”.
However as the manager was apologetic a warning was given and the revellers were all sent home.
Garden marquee set up to watch football
Meanwhile the following day 40 people were caught watching football at a property on a Dundee housing estate, including 25 inside a garden marquee.
The owner of the property was arrested following the illegal football party.
Police also attended a loud party in a flat in Perth with “loads of persons within”.
Initially officers were refused entry to the flat, but eventually 37 people were sent home and given a warning.
On November 16 police officers attended a house party in Dundee with five people from different households, and were issued with a fine, including one to a man who made off when police arrived and was later tracked down.
Two days later, five people were reported for breaching the coronavirus restrictions and refusing to accept a fine from police officers.
Meanwhile on December 12 a “houseful” of people were broken up, and police had to re-attend the party because some revellers went back after officers left.
On December 8 police officers had to break up a party with loud music and a man was arrested. He is said to have been under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and it is alleged he became aggressive and tried to headbutt the officers.
‘We will not hesitate to continue to use our enforcement powers as a last resort’
Chief Superintendent Andrew Todd, divisional commander for Police Scotland’s Tayside division, said: “The vast majority of the public have continued to comply with the regulations.
“We’re asking everyone to continue to do the right thing to stop the spread of this virus and protect public health as its clear that there is an ongoing risk.
“Parties and indoor gatherings of different households are not permitted and we will continue to use our enforcement powers to disperse large groups of people where necessary.
“Our approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance, and encourage compliance, but we will not hesitate to continue to use our enforcement powers as a last resort.”