Police were forced to break up two parties attended by hundreds of students at university accommodation – just days before a Covid-19 outbreak at the campus, the Evening Express can reveal today.
The two gatherings took place less than 24 hours apart at New Carnegie Court in Hillhead Student Village and have resulted in a number of students being fined.
The parties took place on Saturday morning, days before Aberdeen University contacted students to say there had been an outbreak, with some of those positive cases relating to another building in Hillhead Student Village.
Officers were called following reports of parties in the area in the early hours of Saturday morning and shortly after 11pm that evening.
The flouting of the rules came as the number of north-east cases of Covid-19 continues to rise.
When the gatherings took place, the maximum number of people who could meet was limited to six from two different households and two-metre social distancing restrictions were in place.
University chiefs have now written to students reminding them of current regulations and warning that anyone found to have breached them will face action.
And they have also stepped up security on the campus as a result of the incidents at the weekend.
Debbie Dyker, Aberdeen University’s interim director of operations, said: “We are working closely with Police Scotland who are doing regular patrols of our campus and we are enhancing our own security to ensure everyone follows the guidelines to stop the spread of the virus and help keep us all safe.
“We must stress that further breaches such as those that occurred on Saturday evening will not be tolerated and for any student found in breach of the guidelines, appropriate action will be taken.”
A university spokeswoman added: “We are aware of social gatherings outside Hillhead halls of residence at the weekend. We have written to all residents reminding them they are required to adhere to Scottish Government and our own university guidance on Covid-19.
“We are working closely with Police Scotland who are doing regular patrols of our campus and we are enhancing our own security at the halls to ensure everyone follows the guidelines including the wearing of face coverings and physical distancing rules.
“Breaches such as those that occurred at the weekend will not be tolerated and as a result of non-compliance with the guidelines, and by failing to take action following warnings from our staff, the students involved are being issued with a fine.”
It comes as an email to students from the university was issued yesterday (Tues), where it stated a “number of students” had tested positive for Covid-19, some of who stayed in an accommodation building in Hillhead Student Village.
It went on to say that the advice was for all students in that building to self-isolate with “immediate effect.”
It added: “All those affected are being supported by the accommodation team to make sure they have access to food and other supplies.”
Local councillor Alex McLellan stressed the need to adhere to the rules, and said: “It is disappointing to hear Police Scotland were called to disperse a large gathering at Hillhead over the weekend.
“Whilst for many this will be there first time living away from home with new people in an unfamiliar environment, it is absolutely essential that everyone sticks to the rules – students are not exempt and must follow the rules like everyone else in order to minimise the spread of the virus.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Officers were called to Don Street, Aberdeen, at 12.50am and 11.10pm on Saturday, 19 September, following reports of large gatherings. Advice was provided to those present and the groups dispersed.”