LESS than 24 hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a strict lockdown a group of 20 people in Coventry were found “tucking into a barbecue”, police report.
Neighbourhood officers were on patrol in Foleshill Road, Coventry, just after 2pm yesterday (Tuesday March 24) when they smelt food cooking and smoke rising near flats in Culworth Court.
On Monday night the PM ordered a mass lockdown – closing all non-essential shops, banning gatherings of more than two people and insisting families stay behind closed doors.
West Midlands Police said: “Officers were shocked to find a group of around 20 people, including a toddler and people estimated to be in their 60s, freely mingling and standing shoulder-to-shoulder around a buffet.
“Old and young gathered at a BBQ in total disregard of social distancing instruction.
“Police told the group it was unacceptable and they needed to adhere to social distancing guidelines to help slow down the spread of coronavirus.
“Despite the warning the group refused and began protesting they should be allowed to continue their barbeque.
“One woman shouted ‘my children need to eat’ but could not explain why she wasn’t cooking for them at home in her kitchen.”
Police say they were forced to tip the BBQ over as the defiant group initially refused to leave.
“Officers felt they needed to end the gathering by tipping over the BBQ and insisting the group dispersed to their homes,” said police.
“It’s vital everyone follows the new ‘lockdown’ instructions; they are essential and it will save lives. Our officers and PCSOs will be out and about in communities and speaking (from a distance of two metres!) with anyone we suspect is breaching the new regulations. If people do not listen to our advice then we will move to enforcement – and our Chief Constable has vowed that we will target the most problematic behaviour.”