London police irritated by makeshift nightclub in barbershop basement

A street performer plays a musical instrument in protest against lockdown measures near police officers wearing protective face masks as pubs close ahead of the lockdown in Soho, London, Britain

The owner of a barbershop in London’s party district of Soho could face a hefty fine after police discovered more than 100 people partying in breach of COVID regulations in a makeshift nightclub in the basement.

Officers were called to the Cut and Grind barbershop after midnight on Friday and found that a bar, dancefloor, speakers and turntables had been set up in the basement. Revellers were dispersed.

Police Constable Steve Muldoon of the Soho policing team described the incident as “deeply concerning and irritating” at a time when restrictions on socialising are about to get even stricter in London due to a surge in coronavirus infections.

“Over the last couple of weeks, we have responded to a number of parties and unlicensed music events across Soho. It is frankly shocking that people are willing to break the rules, which are clearly there to keep people safe,” Muldoon said.

An employee who answered the phone at Cut and Grind on Tuesday declined to comment. The owner, who could face a fine of up to 10,000 pounds ($13,400), was not immediately available.

Under rules in force in London, people are not allowed to socialise indoors with anyone other than members of their household or support bubble. The rules are to be further tightened on Wednesday. There are a limited number of exemptions which do not include parties or club nights.

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