STAFF who have tested negative for coronavirus at their workplace are getting together for parties at the weekend.

That is the worrying trend spotted by Wiltshire Police after officers dished out more fines at gatherings across Swindon.

Last week, officers issued more than 50 fines – the bulk to people caught at house parties and barbecues.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills said there was a “small trend” of colleagues who are tested for the virus at work getting together to socialise out-of-hours.

“Some individuals have thought, well I work next door to my colleague at work and therefore why can’t I actually socialise because what’s the difference?” the senior officer said.

“The law is such that in the workplace that is a totally different setting to being in private and the law just doesn’t allow people to come together in those circumstances and to socialise at this point in time.

“Those [asymptomatic] tests are not fool proof either, they provide a degree of certainty but they are only a snapshot, a moment in time, and you could still have someone who’s asymptomatic.

“Some of the parties we’ve seen have been in excess of 15 odd people. You only need one person within that to have covid and we’ve seen how this awful virus spreads.”

He urged people to comply with the rules. “My message is we know it’s hard, we know it’s difficult, we know there’s some fatigue with this and the public want to get back to normal but now is not the time to be relaxing.

“You need to play your part around ensuring you’re compliant with the guidance and the regulations.

“If we hear reports that people are not in those sorts of settings we will move very quickly to enforcement because that’s what the public expect of us.”

Last weekend, police were called to a number of parties in Swindon.

On Friday night officers were sent to a house in Bembridge Close, Park North, where they found five adults, a teenager and two young children present. All five adults, aged 24 to 33, were given £200 fines. Early the next morning, a party at a house in Whitehead Street, town centre, resulted in five people aged 21 to 27 being fined.

On Saturday evening, a party in Raleigh Avenue, Walcot, saw five 18-year-olds and two 17-year-olds given warnings.

The next morning, police were sent reports of a disorder in a house in Kirkstall Close, Toothill, and found a group celebrating upcoming birthdays. Six people aged 20 to 56 were fined £200 each.