Five people were arrested and 12 fines were handed out as police shut down an unlicensed music event, as the force continued to crack down on Covid-19 rule breakers.

Officers were called to the event in High Road, North Weald following the event branded as a clear and blatant breach of the Government’s Covid-19 regulations - by police.

They found an unlicensed music event taking place in an abandoned farm building and took action to break it up and disperse those there.

Earlier yesterday Essex Police imposed a second dispersal zone in Essex over fears of an unlicensed music event.

The order was in place in part of the Epping Forest District following information about the unlicensed music event planned there.

Five people – men aged between 19 and 27 from Kent and London – were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Coronavirus Act, 12 others were fined, and sound equipment and a generator was seized.

The event was shut down by the early hours of Sunday morning and officers stayed in the area to maintain a visible presence and deter people from coming back.

It comes after arrests following an illegal gathering and protests in Basildon yesterday afternoon.

READ MORE >> IN PICTURES: How hundreds defied Covid restrictions in Basildon

Superintendent Richard Melton said: “This was a clear and blatant breach of the Government’s COVID-19 regulations and posed a risk to the health of those attending through the spread of the virus.

“As well as the risk of spreading COVID-19, going to unlicensed music events risks your welfare through the drug taking and violence we know takes place and you could be targeted by criminals we know go to them.

“Our approach has always been to engage with people, explain the regulations, and encourage them to do the right thing.

“If that’s not successful, and it’s necessary and appropriate to do so, we’ll then take enforcement action.

“I appreciate these are challenging times for everyone but we all have a personal responsibility to keep each other safe.

“Where our officers have attend and deal with blatant breaches like this, it takes them away from being able to tackle other issues and affects our ability to respond to other incidents.

“Most people in Essex continue to do the right thing and I want to thank you for that. Following the regulations means we can do what we do best – help people, keep people safe, and catch criminals.”