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“It was a party”: Fortune Green barbecue group dispersed by police for flouting coronavirus social distancing

PUBLISHED: 13:09 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:58 25 March 2020

The group, pictured with a barbecue, Lucozade and Nando's sauce, listened to music before Met officers arrived. Picture: Submitted

The group, pictured with a barbecue, Lucozade and Nando's sauce, listened to music before Met officers arrived. Picture: Submitted

Submitted

Three men lit a barbecue and were ‘having a party’ in Fortune Green on Tuesday - despite strict social distancing measures around coronavirus.

Police dispersing the group. Picture: SubmittedPolice dispersing the group. Picture: Submitted

At around 1.15pm police were called to Fortune Green park where three men relaxed and listened to music even though, according to government advice, people must stay two metres apart and all gatherings are to be avoided.

Met officers had to return a second time before the group finally left.

Fortune Green councillor Richard Olszewski said: “I’m really angry at their behaviour. It’s selfish and irresponsible and they are putting their own health at risk and other people in the community. If behaviour like that gets out of hand they’ll end up forcing the closure of parks which are important for everyone’s physical and mental wellbeing – particularly now.

“They’re lucky I’m self-isolating otherwise I would probably have gone round there and given them a piece of my mind Italian mayor style.”

Cllr Olszewski added: “The message is simple – follow government instructions. No more than two people at a time and keep two metres apart. People should only be going to the park to exercise or for a walk.”

Fortune Green resident Jill Henry, of Agamemnon Road, was taken aback to see the three men so flagrantly flouting the safety measures.

She said: “We were flabbergasted to see three guys lighting up a barbecue and drinking. We were absolutely shocked they could be so irresponsible and selfish when we’re all doing our best to abide by these absolutely essential instructions from government to prevent the spread of the virus.”

Jill added: “There was music playing – it was like it was a party, well it was, and I am really relieved and reassured the police dealt with it so quickly. It’s very reassuring because we’re all in this together. They need to send a message to people who are flouting these rules because it’s so serious. We all have to do our bit and we have to stop spreading and save lives. The NHS are on their knees and we have to think of them as well.

“It’s beyond disappointing that there’s people out there not heeding the seriousness of all of this and the risks.”

A Met spokesman said: “Officers were flagged down and told some people to move on.”

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