PARTY-GOERS in Haddington and Musselburgh were dispersed by police in East Lothian at the weekend after breaching Covid-19 regulations.

New data shows how many times Police Scotland officers broke up gatherings over the past week under powers brought in to reduce the spread of the virus.

No fixed penalty notices were issued to coronavirus rule-breakers in the county for the week to Wednesday, April 28.

But last weekend, eight people were dispersed by police when asked to; four dispersed but only when instructed; while three had to be removed from a place or premises.

Among the incidents was a house party in the Dovecot area of Haddington on Saturday evening and another house party in the early hours of Sunday in the Bush Terrace area of Musselburgh. In both instances, advice was given and those involved dispersed.

Chief Inspector Neil Mitchell, police area commander for East Lothian, said: “While level three restrictions allow for six people from two households to meet inside a public place, such as a cafe or restaurant, indoor house parties are still not permitted due to the serious risk of spreading the virus.

"Police Scotland’s approach throughout the pandemic has been to engage with the public, explain the legislation and encourage compliance, but our officers will not hesitate to use our enforcement powers as a last resort.

“This approach will continue as, hopefully, restrictions continue to be eased over the coming months and we move back to a more normal way of life.”

He thanked the "vast majority" of people who kept to the rules to suppress the spread of coronavirus.

“The sacrifices people have made have allowed for further easing of regulations around travel, hospitality and non-essential retail," he added.

“With the hospitality sector and non-essential shops reopening, we are seeing increased traffic on our roads and more people in our towns, cities and retail parks.

“If you are visiting beauty spots then I would urge you to please do so safely and respectfully – leaving no trace of your visit. Please also park responsibly to allow emergency access."

Police were given the power to break up house parties breaching social gathering rules on August 28 last year.