Landlord speaks out after biker funeral that attracted 400 guests lands him with Covid fine

A pub landlord says there was nothing he could do to stop hundreds of bikers turning up to a funeral he was hosting at his pub.

Neil Henderson has apologised after he was fined for breaching Covid-19 rules following the mass gathering at The Gate Hangs Well in Syston.

Police were called after nearly 500 bikers started arriving at the pub, in Fosse Way, on Friday afternoon for the funeral of the president of a biker gang.

Mr Henderson, who has run the pub for 12 years, said the event had been planned for 30 people, as allowed within the coronavirus regulations, but then more and more bikers started to arrive until between 400 and 500 were present and the situation became unmanageable.

The police said he could be fined up to £10,000.

Mr Henderson told LeicestershireLive the funeral was for an acquaintance who was the president of a motorcycle club.

He said: “He had terminal cancer and before he died he asked me if he could hold the funeral here.

“The organisers had erected a marquee set out for 30 people with the chairs separated as per the regulations.

“The pub was closed to the general public and tables were set out (in a nearby field) for anyone coming to pay their respects.

“We were told maybe 50 or 60 extra people might turn up.

“We didn’t expect so many people would come to do that.

“I can’t believe how many bikers turned up.

“There was no way I could stop it from going on.

“It was a scenario that just got out of control for me.”

Mr Henderson said the police turned up when the funeral service started.

He said: “They didn’t really want to get involved.

“The council asked me to close at about 4pm which I did.

“Between myself and the police, we asked the organisers to respectfully disperse in separate small groups.

“Right at the very end the police said they would fine me but I haven’t had it through yet so I don’t know how much it will be.”

Police say the level of the fine will be determined after an investigation.

Mr Henderson added: “I want to say something because this is my livelihood and I don’t want my staff to lose their jobs.

“I feel stressed and depressed about this.”

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Source: Leicestershire Live