By Charlie Loran • 09 November 2020 • 20:11
A CATHOLIC Priest is facing a £1,000 fine for breaching Lockdown rules after 200 guests turned up for a gypsy wedding at his church when the legal limit was only 15.
The illegal wedding took place on November 3, two days before the country was plunged into its second national lockdown.
Weddings are now only permitted in instances where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, and only six people are allowed to attend.
Before lockdown, no more than 15 people were allowed to attend a wedding, ‘even where large numbers could be accommodated with social distancing in a Covid-secure venue’, according to the Government’s website.
Revd Father Simon Hall, 43, said, ‘It was just such a shock to me. We had arranged for 15 people and this was what we had agreed. This was repeated every time I met them and then on the day it was very different.’
As the helpless priest prepared for the ceremony a selection of flash cars made there way through the streets, behind a white horse-drawn carriage.
Local driver Mandeep Mudhar commented on Facebook, ‘I saw it in town, the couple in a white horse-drawn carriage, surrounded by loads of flashy expensive cars blocking the three lanes hooting away and no regard to traffic lights or other cars.
‘About six cars crossed at a junction without looking left or right and we all had to stop as they had no intention of stopping.
‘There must have been at least 50 in the cars etc Bentley, expensive range rovers, souped up people carriers. Unbelievable.’
The Revd Father Hall only learned of the problem when it was too late.
‘When the bride arrived I knew there were too many,’ he said, ‘but what could I do? I just wanted to get through it as quickly as I could.’
‘The next thing I knew, I was fully vested in church and the police came in,’ he said.
They had not given him any paperwork but told him to expect a summons through the post containing a fine that he could either pay or challenge at Magistrates’ court.
He said: ‘The last thing I am is a lockdown sceptic. We have been working very hard during the entire process to make the church Covid-safe.’
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