REVELLERS flouting lockdown rules to attend house parties will now face harsher fines.

People attending gatherings of more than 15 people inside homes will now be slapped with anb £800 penalty.

This will double each time an offence is committed, reaching a maximum of £6,400.

The Argus: Home Secretary Priti PatelHome Secretary Priti Patel

Previously, there was a fine of £200 issued to those breaching coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

Fines of £10,000 could be issued to the organisers of large gatherings.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the heightened house party fine during a coronavirus press conference this evening.

She said: "Next week we will be introducing a new £800 fine for those attending house parties which will double for each repeat offence to a maximum level of £6,400.

"These fines will apply to those who attend illegal gatherings of more than 15 people in homes.

"The science is clear, such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health, not only to those in attendance but also to our wonderful police officers who attend these events to shut them down.

"From the outset we have given police the necessary powers to enforce the rules which are in place to stop the spread of this virus.

"And, as these latest measures will demonstrate, we will not stand by while a small number of individuals put others at risk."

The Argus: The University of Sussex's Falmer campusThe University of Sussex's Falmer campus

Sussex Police have dispersed several house parties across the county during the pandemic.

One of the most recent was hosted at the halls of residence on the University of Sussex's Falmer campus.

It was reported that more than 100 people attended the event on Saturday, January 9, with police attending in the early hours of the following morning to shut it down.

Three people were issued with £200 fines and, in the week following the event, the University of Sussex said it had "taken action to evict students who are identified as breaching the government guidelines and the law".

There were also further breaches of lockdown rules by University of Sussex students over Halloween, when footage emerged of partying students being dispersed by dozens of police officers.