More than 600 people pack into marquee for illegal party in pub garden

A pub is at risk of getting its licence restricted after police were called to an illegal party allegedly breaching coronavirus rules.

More than 600 people attended the party which was not in accordance to guidelines, reports Essex Live.

The venue now faces having its licence restricted after an application to review was submitted by Essex Police.

Following the event held on August 2, officers said they witnessed staff organisers and revellers in possession of cannabis.

The party occurred at Beauvoir Arms in Downham, near Billericay.

The pub, which said that the event was designed as a soiree-style garden party for no more than 200 people, has apologised for the event it admits did "get out of hand".

However, Essex Police said that the event had been planned for 600 in an unlicensed area.

Moreover, police said the event resulted in obstructions to residents' driveways, anti-social behaviour from attendees and breaches of Covid-19 regulations. No prior application was received to allow the event to go ahead.

To make matters worse, despite promises made to police officers by the organisers of the event to not allow any more persons into the party and to shut down at 8pm, it continued with people still arriving at 10.30pm, according to police.

Essex Police said the event organiser was "very obstructive and gave officers false details".

Organisers, staff and attendees were also witnessed to be in possession of cannabis and people were seen jumping a picket fence to get into the marquee.

Essex Police have said the crime and disorder objective of the pub's licence has been undermined.

They add that Chelmsford City Council, as the licensing authority, may wish to consider restricting any outdoor activity with no use of a marquee for future events, and to only allow alcohol for consumption on the premises.

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A statement on social media from the pub on August 4 read: "Please accept our sincere apologies again for the events at Beauvoir Arms on Sunday.

"The event was planned as a soiree-style evening, and thought it would be a garden party. Socially distanced tables, people staying within their groups, basically a classy event utilising our large outside areas too, to aid safe social distancing.

"We said no more than 200 people as the marquee was big enough for about 500, plus, there is lots of space in the garden and we set it out to keep things socially distanced. Sadly many more guests arrived than we agreed.

"We organised the correct facilities for the number we were expecting and made provisions for 50 to 60 cars in the car park. It was never our intention to have so many parking on the road."

The statement said portable toilets were placed outside, meaning staff could sanitise and clean up, while still being able to open the restaurant safely the next day.

"Finally we wanted to say that unfortunately this event did get out of hand, but we worked with the police and council to get everyone out safely, which was our main concern. With a large group it is important to disperse people in a safe way," added the statement.

"We would like to apologise again for any upset caused and understand resident concerns. We are going to make a donation to a local NHS charity as a good will gesture and hope that our local friends and loyal customers will understand the predicament we were in."

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