Police Raid Empty, Coronavirus-Shuttered Comedy Club After Online Streaming Mix-Up

Police showed up to raid a comedy club in Liverpool, England, over the weekend after being tipped off about an illegal gig that was being held in front of a packed audience during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

But officers from Merseyside Police found the Hot Water Comedy Club shuttered and completely empty. It later emerged that the person who’d reported the gig to authorities had actually been watching a Facebook stream of a previous show at the venue and thought it was being broadcast live, the Liverpool Echo reported.

The club on Saturday shared footage of the botched raid on social media:

“Tonight we streamed a show we filmed back on 7th March,” the club tweeted. “Someone thought it was live and grassed us up to the police, who sent 12 officers a van & a car to shut us down.”

Merseyside Police said the “false alarm” had been made “in good faith” by someone who was concerned the club “was open and live streaming a show with a large number of customers inside,” Sky News reported.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, announced a nationwide lockdown last week. There have been more than 25,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom, with upwards of 1,700 deaths.

“Police officers are key workers with a critical role in protecting the public during the coronavirus situation, and whilst they do practice social distancing wherever possible, their role in responding to calls for service from the public means it is not always possible,” a spokesperson for the police told Sky News, in response to criticism on social media that officers were not adhering to the measures.

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