Mansfield residents' disgust at 'Secret Festival' flouting lockdown rules

The government’s advice has always been ‘stay at home’, however a group of people decided to hold their own festival on Friday.

By Katrina Taylor
Friday, 5th June 2020, 9:53 am

The gathering of around 40 people was tagged as #secretfestival but was posted in a public facebook post.

Photos emerged showing a large group posing together, alongside a video showing groups of people drinking in a field.

The post was shared hundreds of times by angry residents, with comments stating one of those in attendance claimed to be packaging the food parcels which the government distribute to our most vulnerable.

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Secret Festival goers

Joe Buchanan, who attended the event, spoke out to defend the gathering: “The situation has been blown way out of proportion.

“Apart from posing for one photo, social distancing was maintained as we were outside in a large open space.

“People that gathered were respectful – we took our rubbish and had no complaints while there.

“It's such a shame people have nothing better to do than troll people online, right after posting a meme saying 'be kind'.”

Some of the groups seen on the video which was captioned 'who needs Creamfields'.

Lisa Gunn spoke out to raise her concerns at the gathering when the evidence emerged.

As someone in the extremely vulnerable category, she is currently receiving the food parcels alleged to have been packed by one of the attendees.

She said: “I’m now weighing up whether to refuse them, knowing at least one person packing them has potentially exposed themselves to the virus.

“You’re risking spreading it to hundreds of vulnerable people who are doing anything they can to stay safe.”

A spokesperson from Bidfood, who package and distribute the food parcels wanted to allay people’s fears, after residents contacted them with their concerns.

They said: “We have been made aware about the breach of our Covid-19 policy by an individual working at a site we are operating from in Huthwaite.

“We can confirm that this person does not work for Bidfood but is a cleaner supplied by one of our contractors, who recently started working at the site removing rubbish.

“This person does not pack the government food parcels that we are delivering to the vulnerable.

“We would like to reassure local residents that we take health and safety extremely seriously and have a very strict social distancing policy in operation.”

People are concerned that the new guidance released this week could result in more breaches of these rules, however the police were keen to reassure the public that large gatherings would still not be permitted, and that larger fines would be issued if necessary.

Chief Superintendent Rob Griffin, who leads local policing across Nottinghamshire, which includes the Operation Bion coronavirus patrols, said: “We have been clear from the outset that our approach during the outbreak has been to engage with members of the public, and encourage people to follow the instructions.

“As expected, the bank holiday celebrations from May 8 saw an increase in the number of Operation Bion incidents reported.

“As a result of these, a small number of tickets were issued across the county.

“From Wednesday May 13 the government is introducing higher fines of £100 for a first offence.”

Anyone witnessing a large gathering can report the incident on 101.