FIVE people have been fined after travelling from England to Scotland for an illegal Christmas party.

They were part of a group who came north the week before Christmas to stay in rental accommodation in Edinburgh, with police intervening after reports of a house party.

The incident was revealed by the BBC, which reported a spike in online sites like being used to hire space for large gatherings over the festive period.

Police call logs show officers were called out almost 7000 times since they were given the power to break up house parties contravening social gathering rules on August 28.

The latest data, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, highlighted a significant rise in anecdotal reports of house parties being held at rented accommodation over the festive period.

As well as the incident in Edinburgh, the call logs show officers broke up a party in Inverclyde attended by more than 30 people.

The flat was hired "under false pretence" by a "doctor" apparently working at a local hospital for a few days.

Meanwhile, more than 40 people scattered from lodges in Tayside after police responded to reports of parties, with “numerous cars coming and going and persons running around”.

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Police data showed that officers were called to 6856 gatherings between August 28 and January 8.

However, the force has suggested the number is likely to be greater as house gatherings are typically under-reported.

Although the number of callouts has dropped slightly since mid-September, officers still attended hundreds of gatherings every week, with callouts peaking at nearly 600 over the new year period.

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Speirs said: "The vast majority of the public have continued to comply with the regulations.

"Parties and indoor gatherings of different households are not permitted and we will continue to use our enforcement powers to disperse large groups of people where necessary.

"Policing during the pandemic has always been challenging and it remains so." was approached for comment.