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‘Lockdown police’ search for illegal speakeasies and even peer through letterboxes in 10pm curfew crackdown


LOCKDOWN inspectors have been searching for illegal speakeasies and even peering through letterboxes as part of the new 10pm curfew crackdown.

Teams of officers were seen patrolling Soho in Central London last night.

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The City Inspectors, hired by Westminster Council, peered through pub windows and letterboxes to ensure venues were following the new rules.

Dan Barker spotted the inspectors and uploaded photos of them to Twitter.

He wrote: “Strange sight – City Inspectors, working through Soho, looking for illegal speakeasies open after the 10pm cutoff.”

He told Yahoo UK: “I’d guess I saw them looking into a dozen or so places – the area has quite a lot of pubs and bars.

“It took me a moment to process what they were doing at first. I saw them again 15 minutes or so later outside the Hippodrome, which is usually open 24/7.”

The Sun Online has contacted Westminster council for comment.

PM Boris Johnson announced the new measures to stem the spread of Covid-19 after a rise in infections across the UK, and to avoid a second national lockdown.

There are tougher enforcement powers for shutting down venues which don’t force visitors to stay apart.

A 10pm curfew for all pubs, bars and hospitality venues in England started from last night – but it didn’t stop Brits making the most of time at the bar.

Many fear the measures will have little effect as crowds will still leave together — just an hour earlier than normal.

Throngs were seen making their way home in central London on Thursday night, when the curfew first came in.

Kirsty Lewis, 24, said: “10pm curfew meant everyone rolling out onto the streets and the Tubes at the same time.

“It was the busiest I’ve seen central London in months.”

Police patrolled night-time hotspots in London, and friends catching up over a beer in Soho were turfed out of pubs.

Dame Cressida Dick, the Met Police’s Commissioner, joined PCs on foot patrol as the regulations began.

Queues built outside off-licences in Brighton as students continue having fun.

And in Leeds, students celebrating their first term of university carried boxes of drinks home with them, before the city was placed into local lockdown.

Households are now banned from mixing indoors after a surge in infections.

Council leader Judith Blake said: “The safety of the city and the public simply has to come first and we have now reached a point where we all need to take additional steps.”

The PM said the 10pm curfew means “closing and not just calling for last orders”.

The measure – which has been used already in some local lockdowns – will help prevent breaches of social distancing due to drinking booze.

Landlords will also have to collect details for track and trace, while before it was only guidance.

Venues which fail to follow the new rules could be shut down on the spot.

Mr Johnson has doubled the fine for anyone who fails to wear a face mask to £200 – and ordered people to wear them inside restaurants and pubs too.

Customers visiting hospitality venues – including pubs and restaurants – must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

It means that people will have to cover up when they go into their local or out for dinner – or when they need to use the loo.


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