Matt Jarram, Senior Digital Reporter and Crime Correspondent at the Nottingham Post wrote on Saturday 12 September 2020 ...

Students behind massive house party speak out after being fined £10,000 by the police

They speak to Nottinghamshire Live about how around 50 people arrived at their student digs in Lenton

Students slapped with a £10,000 fine for holding a massive house party in Lenton said the gathering "got out of hand" after around 50 people turned up.

Residents described how groups of up to five arrived in taxis and by foot to a house party in Harlaxton Drive that began at around 7pm on Friday, September 11.

Despite warnings, they continued to party through the evening and police have decided to hand the party organiser, a 19-year-old student, a £10,000 fine.

Local residents who have been forced to endure student house parties in Lenton for years said this "sets an example" for others thinking of doing the same.

There are six students who live at the property in Harlaxton Drive and they were eating pizza in the garden when Nottinghamshire Live paid them a visit. Despite some of them not wanting to comment, one student living there said it was only right that they delivered an apology to residents.

The student, who did not wish to give his name, told Nottinghamshire Live: "It was meant to be a small gathering with mates and it got out of hand. 

"We had invited 25 people and it was out in the garden and aimed to end at 11pm and we were trying to social distance but then people invited their mates and so on. 

"It got out of hand and we are really sorry."

They did not want to discuss the £10,000 fine, and whether they would pay or appeal the decision, but acknowledged what had happened.

Assistant chief constable of Nottinghamshire Police, Steve Cooper, said officers were prepared to use "the full weight of the law" to prevent the spread of Covid-19 across the city and county.

The fine comes just days before new rules come in force whereby only six people can meet at any one time.

He is warning others thinking of hosting parties this weekend ahead of the changes to think again or face the consequences.

Public Health bosses in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire said the highest spike in new cases were among the 18 to 35 year olds and that they could end up exposing the virus to friends, family and some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Residents in Lenton described the scene at last night's party in Harlaxton Drive, with some partygoers using the excuse to police 'we are just students.'

Letting agent Angela Robins, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said: "I started counting them - it was another four then another three and I lost count at 20.

"It was a stream of people. They were going from the garden to the house. I am glad this fine has happened because they need to be taught a lesson. Explain that to your parents.

"This is needed to set an example. It is also about respecting the neighbourhood not just the lockdown.

"I grew up in this area and it getting worse and worse and when students say 'it's full of students (on this street)' it's rubbish. It does not give you the right to party at all hours.

"There are a lot of residents still here. I think this fine will shake them up."

Kate Loewenthal, chair of the Lenton Drives and Neighbours Residents' Association, who lives in the area, said locals were not 'anti-student' but want to ensure there is not a Covid-19 spike.

She said: "I would never wish this £10,000 fine on anyone but there has to be a message that goes out. It is about saving lives.

"A lot of them that did disperse from this party will go on to other parties and it could spread. I was really impressed with the police response last night.

"It started quite early and we saw people from 7pm, which was unusual. There was a few taxis but it was mainly footfall."

Community Protection Officers from Nottingham City Council initially attended but were met with hostility from the organiser and so police were called to assist. 

Officers found around 50 people in the address who were all ordered to leave. The occupant was later issued with the fine.

Police said if he fails to pay or contests this fine he will appear before a court.

ACC Cooper from Nottinghamshire Police said: "We need to all remember we are very much still in the middle of a global pandemic and we all need to take responsibility for our actions.

"This party was a clear example of a householder who deliberately flouted the rules without a care for anyone else and as a result we have used the full powers we have to deal with this.

"Under current rules we can issue fines to anyone hosting gatherings of more than 30 people which can result in fines of up to £10,000.

"And now we are on the eve of rules becoming even tighter so there can be gatherings of no more than six.

"I want to send out a clear message to anyone who is thinking of deliberately hosting parties tonight or tomorrow night ahead of the rules changing to please not do this."As we have demonstrated here we are not afraid to use the full powers we have and we will not tolerate those who are deliberately put other people’s lives in danger."

Students behind massive house party speak out after being fined £10,000 by the police - Nottinghamshire Live

Editor's Note:

Not only this neighbourhood in Lenton, but too many other neighbourhoods in other parts of Lenton, in Dunkirk, in areas around the Arboretum, in the city centre, in Radford, in Wollaton Park, in Lenton Abbey, in Beeston, and others I just haven't enough room to mention. And Nottingham Trent Students as well as Nottingham University Students.

DanielleT left this comment on Nottinghamshire Live - For many years that part of Nottingham was quiet, clean and a lovely place to live. Then students moved in en masse - and now it isn't. I pity the poor locals, they've been dumped on by rich parents (who apparently can't be bothered to house train their progeny before packing them off to university) and get little-to-no support from the council or police either. The new term begins in October so let's hope this fine is the first of many.

What she has said applies to too many other neighbourhoods in other parts of Lenton, in Dunkirk, in areas around the Arboretum, in the city centre, in Radford, in Wollaton Park, Lenton Abbey, Beeston. These were places where people and their families put down roots and invested in their neighbourhood, and not just the bricks and mortar of their homes. However, rather than remaining and helping to remedy Nottingham's acknowledged shortage of good-quality and good-sized family homes, these properties have been turned into buy-to-let investments for absentee landlords and for highly transient tenants who, once they have enjoyed the 'student experience', will move on to new pastures, leaving the permanent residents and their families to await the arrival of the next generation of 'experience seekers' and waste makers.

A resident has mailed the NAG to say that they ...

'... Personally would rather this did not happen to other students, but I do want students to know that the coronavirus risk is very real and compliance [with guidance] is not an option. ...

'It isn't enough for the students to say the next day "Tell us tomorrow if we were offensive or noisy last night." We have to live with it year on year, only to be told that it is a student area and that basically we - the long term residents - are the problem. I was told recently by a student: "Deal with it, we are more than you." ...

'The two universities are taking over with nothing given to us in return. Not quite true - the only beneift is an ATM that gives £5 notes. Well thank you so much!

'I wonder why we still bother?'