Cops break up funeral as 60 mourners flout social distancing rules in row over body – The Sun

POLICE broke up a funeral as 60 mourners defied social distancing measures after reportedly driving the body 25 miles to a cemetery in the back of a Transit van.

The group are said to have demanded the body back from the morgue before holding the ceremony in breach of social distancing measures.

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Around 60 mourners were reportedly moved on by Bedfordshire Police during the service for a woman at Dunstable Cemetery, near Luton, at around 10am on Thursday, April 23.

Government guidelines state the number of people attending any funeral in the UK must be as "low as possible" and all mourners must maintain two metres of social distance.

Members of the deceased's household and close family members – or friends if family are unavailable – along with person to run the ceremony are they only ones recommended to attend a funeral during the coronavirus outbreak.

Pictures show the large group – believed to be from the travelling community – gathered around the plot along with a number of vehicles.

The morgue holding the woman's body had reportedly told the mourners they would not release the remains on Wednesday night.

MailOnline reports members of the group alleged threatened to burn down the funeral home until they released the coffin.

It comes after a massive funeral was held for a dad dubbed "Mr Ibiza" in Gorton, Greater Manchester, which ended in shots fired, a man slashed and a police swoop.

Some mourners could be seen swigging beer, with the event reported to have kicked off with a wake at a house in Sandy, Beds.

Vans were parked on the village green as the group gathered ahead of the funeral.

The coffin was then placed into the back of white Transit van – despite the presence of a hearse – and was sticking out the back.

Pictures shows a woman clutching the coffin as the van traveled along with the door open for around 25 miles.

Flower arrangements for the funeral can be seen reading "Mum" and "Nanny" as they arrived at Dunstable Cemetery.

A Ford Focus involved in the procession is claimed to have crashed into another car after going the wrong way around a roundabout.

An unmarked police car with three plain-clothed officers inside is said to have been waiting for them at the graveyard.

The service got underway as 60 mourners gathered around the plot, until more officers arrived on the scene.

Bedfordshire Police reportedly entered into a "Mexican standoff" with the group until the funeral dispersed.

A witness said: "Look I get it's a funeral and I have full respect for them and it's very sad someone's died ultimately, but it's just their behaviour.

"But obviously they don't give a flying hoot."

Coronavirus social distancing measures around gatherings – such as funerals – were introduced to try and stop the spread of the pandemic which has killed more than 19,000 people across Britain.

In guidance on its website, the government said: "Whilst recognising the importance of these rituals and gatherings, it is strongly advised that the actions detailed in this guidance are taken to reduce the spread of infection, particularly to clinically vulnerable people who are at risk of severe illness.

"For deaths that are suspected or confirmed as being due to coronavirus it is recognised that household members of the deceased person may have already been exposed to coronavirus  during the course of the preceding illness.

"However, steps should be taken to minimise any new exposure, especially where individuals who are not part of the household and those at risk of severe illness may come into contact with the virus."

It comes after the funeral of one of Britain's youngest coronavirus victims, Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, took place without his heartbroken family.

Britain's total coronavirus cases crept up to 143,464 today with the biggest increase in five days, as the death toll nears 20,000.

Bedfordshire Police have been approached for comment by The Sun Online.

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