PEOPLE may be ‘factoring in Covid fines’ as a wedding cost with Greater Manchester Police having broken up several marriage celebrations, the deputy mayor fears.

Baroness Beverley Hughes, the former Stretford and Urmston MP, says weddings ‘increasingly feature’ in the list of police call-outs to illegal gatherings, which is rising by the week.

Last month police handed out fines after around 100 people were found at a wedding party in Bolton, while another party was stopped in Manchester.

According to the latest government guidance, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are limited to 15 people in both Bolton and Manchester provided the venue is Covid-secure and social distancing requirements are met.

Police continue to respond to parties and funerals, with some funerals so large they have required their own police operations. This has added to ongoing resource issues for police, who are spending up to £100,000 on special operations every weekend.

A total of 459 fixed penalty notices have been issued since March, with 85 handed out over last weekend, but under half of those have been paid.

Baroness Hughes said: “There are some very large gatherings and some very persistent offenders. One woman in Bolton who is now on her fourth fixed penalty notice having had a very large party in her house again. The totting up of her fixed penalty notices is coming up to £1,500.

“Weddings increasingly feature and I don’t know of people who had to put off their wedding in the spring now feel that they’ve got to get on with it. But it feels as if the fines that people will get are now being factored in as a cost people will bear in order to go ahead with their weddings.”

Around 300 businesses are being visited each week by police and local authority teams to check that their premises are Covid-safe.