Current track



Current show

The Old School Rock Show

7:00 pm 10:00 pm

Current show

The Old School Rock Show

7:00 pm 10:00 pm

Venue fined £10,000 for second COVID breach – this time for operating as secret nightclub

Written by on 2 November 2020

The owner of an events venue in Bristol has been fined GBP10,000 for breaching coronavirus restrictions for a second time after being caught “running his establishment as a nightclub”.

Avon and Somerset Police said dozens of people were found inside the Jack of Diamonds on Thursday, just one week after the owner was issued a GBP1,000 fixed penalty notice for staying open beyond the 10pm curfew.

That first offence prompted the local council to cease services until 2021 – and the latest breach has been branded by police as “the most blatant show of contempt for the public health crisis” that the force had seen.

Bodycam footage from police officers inside the venue. Pic: Avon and Somerset Police

Steve Cullen, assistant chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, said: “It’s truly shameful the level of disregard some people continue to show not just for themselves or the law but for other members of society.

“Officers gave multiple warnings to the Jack of Diamonds and issued the owner with a GBP1,000 fine, which is certainly not an insignificant amount of money, yet this clearly had no impact whatsoever.

“The owner continued to run his establishment as a nightclub, providing alcohol to large crowds of people until the early hours of the morning in the most blatant show of contempt for the public health crisis and the health of his community that we have seen.”

He added: “Not only was he hosting an event on Thursday, when officers went to hand him his fixed penalty notice on Friday they found him setting up for a Halloween party.”

More from Bristol

The force said GBP1,000 fines had also been issued to a pub in Taunton and a man in Thornbury who failed to self-isolate after being alerted by Test and Trace.

Several people also received GBP200 fines following house parties in Weston-super-Mare and West Huntspill over the weekend – and eight people have been arrested in connection with a rave attended by 700 in Yate on Saturday.

What you can and can't do during second lockdown

What you can and can’t do during second lockdown

:: Subscribe to Sophy Ridge on Sunday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

Mr Cullen said it was “horrifying” how people treated the police for intervening in instances where coronavirus regulations were broken.

He said: “Several officers responding to the rave were injured by revellers throwing missiles, including lit aerosol cans, while both the Racehorse pub in Taunton and the Jack of Diamonds in Bristol made efforts to obstruct police from gaining entry to their venues.

“These people know exactly what they are doing and it is not only wrong but dangerous on multiple levels.”

COVID job losses

COVID job losses

What impact has COVID had on jobs

In total, 33,525 reports of COVID-19 rules being broken have been recorded by the force since the start of pandemic, for which 423 fixed penalty notices were given.

In this past month alone, officers have attended more than 460 reported breaches and have issued 44 fines.

Mr Cullen said although the “vast majority” of people have been following the rules, the force will not “tolerate flagrant breaches of the regulations”.

He said: “We will move more swiftly to enforcement because we simply cannot allow the selfish actions of a few to jeopardise the determined efforts our communities have put in over the past seven months.”