Curry house hid massive indoor party with covered windows at peak of lockdown

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Shek Farsi Ahmed Shah, the owner of Hot Chilli restaurant in Bolton, claimed he thought a 65 person wedding was within lockdown rules that allowed for 30 guests

Shek Farsi Ahmed Shah was handed a fixed penalty notice
Shek Farsi Ahmed Shah was handed a fixed penalty notice

Dozens of revellers partied inside a curry house in the middle of the second coronavirus lockdown.

The windows of the Hot Chilli restaurant in Bolton were covered in paper when police visited it on February 21.

An officer went inside and found more than 60 people enjoying a wedding meal, Manchester Evening News reported.

Shek Farsi Ahmed Shah, the restaurant’s owner, said he believed the party was within lockdown rules because it was a wedding with 30 guests, Bolton Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday.

Just a week before the wedding had taken place 800 people had died from Covid-19 across the UK in a single day.

PC Andrew Hopwood from Greater Manchester Police had gone into the restaurant through an open door and found people sat down inside.

Hot Chilli restaurant was used to host a big wedding
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Image:

ABNM Photography)

Prosecutor Hamza Soren told the court: “He witnessed approximately 50 guests present. The guests appeared to be having a sit-down meal.

“Decorations were on each table, there were ‘Mr and Mrs’ gift boxes and there were floral decorations around the restaurant.

“Guests were in formal attire. Females were wearing expensive-looking, traditional Asian gowns.

“It was clear that there was an organised, formal event taking place.”

The court heard that at this point PC Hopwood was approached by Shah, who confirmed he was the owner and claimed the event did not breach Covid rules.

Mr Soren said: “(Shah’s) response was that he thought he was allowed 30 people to attend as it was a wedding.

“(PC Hopwood) explained that by allowing guests to have a sit-down meal he had breached the restrictions.”

Mr Soren said the officer was then informed that there were more guests in the downstairs area of the restaurant.

The trial was heard at Bolton Magistrates’ Court
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Image:

Manchester Evening News)

Downstairs, PC Hopwood also found a wedding cake on the table, along with wedding favours and drinks bottles that had the same names on as the couple who were married.

“In total it was estimated there were 65 people present including children under 18,” Mr Soren added.

“There were 10 staff members on duty, either cooking in the kitchen or serving food.”

Shah was handed a £200 fixed penalty notice, while 37 guests were also slapped with fines.

Mr Soren added: “The defendant’s behaviour was crass and irresponsible given the circumstances about the spread of Covid.

“He says he has admitted breaching the legislation. Despite that, for reasons known only to himself, he decided to arrange this wedding with young children and adults present.

“We can only speculate whether there were any infections as a result of that, but the legislation applied to everyone.

“It was there for a reason and the actions of the defendant were inexcusable and irresponsible.”

Shah, of Blackburn Road, told magistrates there were a ‘number of things that were not accurate’ in Bolton Council’s account of proceedings.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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