People who organise and attend house parties with more than 15 people will receive an £800, home secretary Priti Patel has announced.

Coming into force next week, the penalty will double for each subsequent offence, and could rise to a maximum of £6,400.

The £800 fine is four times the current £200 for most Covid-19 breaches, but is smaller than the £10,000 fine for organising parties of more than 30 people.

Speaking at a Downing Street news conference, the home secretary said: “The science is clear - such irresponsible behaviour poses a significant threat to public health, not only to those in attendance, but also our wonderful police officers.

“We will stand by while a small number of individuals put others at risk.”

Martin Hewitt, chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, added: "Gatherings where people are in close contact with each other in confined spaces will allow the virus to spread, and anyone who organises one will be given a fixed penalty notice and so will those who choose to attend.

"When we see people that are putting others and themselves in danger, we'll not waste time trying to reason with them, they are demonstrating no regard for the safety of others or even themselves."