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UK police raid packed makeshift club with 150 partygoers

LONDON — British police have fined dozens of people for breaking coronavirus restrictions after officers found 150 guests packed into an illegal nightclub in England over the weekend.

Officers who forced their way into a building in the city of Birmingham on Saturday night discovered the makeshift club with a bar, VIP area and a dance room with a DJ, West Midlands Police said. About 150 people occupied two floors of the building, the police force said Monday.

A police video taken with drones showed people trying to flee from the rooftop early Sunday. Police said about 50 people managed to get away, but around 70 were issued 200-pound ($278) fines. The DJ could face a 10,000-pound fine ($13,882.)

Wet Midlands Police on Saturday also discovered a garage workshop nearby that had been turned into a mini pub, with a sign on the wall dubbing it “The Covid Arms.” About a dozen drinkers were allowed to leave, but the owner was fined.

The department urged people to remember that England remains under a lockdown and that the virus is still a threat despite the U.K.’s vaccine program.

Britain has been in a third national lockdown since early January to curb the rapid spread of a more transmissible variant of the coronavirus. Restaurants and pubs can only operate takeaway food services.

The Associated Press