Police disperse crowd of up to 300 partying on snowy Newcastle hill


Emily ClearyFri, 12 February 2021, 1:18 pm

Watch: Moment up to 300 revellers defy Covid lockdown rules to party in Newcastle country park 0:00 0:27   Moment up to 300 revellers defy Covid lockdown rules to party in Newcastle country park

Hundreds of revellers met up to party in the snow again last night, despite being moved on by police the night before.

Crowds gathered at Newcastle’s Town Moor to drink and socialise.

Footage showing up to three hundred people on the snowy summit of Cow Hill were shared across social media on Wednesday evening and a spokesperson for Northumbria Police said the force was disappointed to see so many return the following night.

He told Yahoo News UK: “We attended the Town Moor throughout Thursday after reports of large crowds drinking and socialising in the area on the previous evening in breach of coronavirus legislation.

“The majority of people during the day were made up of young families who remained in their households and behaved in a responsible manner.

Crowds gathered on Newcastle's Cow Hill to socialise and sledge down the snowy slopes (Savvysearcher1/Twitter)
Crowds gathered on Newcastle’s Cow Hill to socialise and sledge down the snowy slopes (Savvysearcher1/Twitter)

“However, as we moved into the evening we did become aware of large crowds, primarily consisting of young adults, who were drinking and socialising in similar scenes to Wednesday.”

The spokesman told Yahoo News UK that “a large number of officers were deployed to the Moor to disperse these crowds” and said that the evening then progressed peacefully and no further issues were reported.

He added: “We do not believe this to have been an organised gathering but this type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and undermines the efforts of the majority of people in our region who are making daily sacrifices to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

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“Our officers will continue to patrol the Town Moor in the coming days and evenings and take appropriate action where necessary.

“We are grateful to all who continue to follow the legislation and guidance in place, including those who have been enjoying the weather and sledging responsibly.”

Regular visitors to the Moor reported bins overflowing with litter on Friday morning.

Twitter user DianeJojo10 wrote: “The morning after the night before,” alongside a picture of sledges and newspapers beside a waste bin.

“Its been mental up there,” she added, before listing items she had seen abandoned. “Baby baths, ikea bags, for sale signs, bin lids the lot.”

One woman who witnessed the gathering on Wednesday told Newcastle’s Chronicle: “We got there at about 3.45pm and they were all already there.

Read more: What you can and can’t do under current lockdown rules

Twitter user DianeJojo10 posted a picture of a bin on the Moor saying
Twitter user DianeJojo10 posted a picture of a bin on the Moor saying “The morning after the night before” as bins were left overflowing from the previous night’s fun (Twitter/DianeJojo10)

“There must have been a good 300 of them – they had music on, lots of alcohol and no social distancing.

“They were still there at about 6pm and they were starting to get really drunk.

“I know they’ve been cooped up, like everybody else, but they were getting ridiculous – going down the hill on shopping trolleys, on upside down tables, at one point on what looked like the front of a speedboat.”

Another mass gathering was reported at Flatts Lane Country Park in Middlesbrough, where Cleveland Police admitted officers were outnumbered by the crowds.

“You can see we’re outnumbered,” the force’s PC Ritchie Robinson told BBC News.

“If they’re not going to engage with us and we can’t explain and reason with them in an amicable manner we’re going to have to start taking names and addresses and issuing fines.”

Health chiefs on Tyneside said large numbers of people socialising in close proximity heightened the risk of transmitting coronavirus and warned an increase in patients attending hospital with sledging injuries was putting extra strain on departments at a “critical time”.

“Burdening our NHS with avoidable injuries at a time when we are already struggling with a pandemic is not acceptable,” Bas Sen, director of emergency care at Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust.

“The Royal Victoria Infirmary has seen multiple injuries including some pretty major ones, which are terrible for the people concerned but also start consuming critical resources at a time when things are already stretched.”