Police Raid Zoom Birthday Party After Passers-By Mistake Cardboard Cut-Outs For Real People
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Police raided a property after passers-by mistook cardboard cut-outs for real guests.
Millionaire Steve Varsano had organised a zoom party at his Mayfair offices in London to celebrate his girlfriend Lisa Tchenguiz's 56th birthday.
The 64-year-old had dozens of Lisa's pals join in to celebrate over video phone.
And to add a little bit more life to proceedings, the jet tycoon ordered life-size cut-outs of all 70 guests to pad the room out and make it feel more like a party.
However, the couple soon received a shock when a passers-by, under the impression that the cut-outs were actually real people, tipped off the police.
A dozen officers then arrived at the office to search for guests.
Speaking about the bizarre incident, Mr Varsano said: "There were about ten officers. They went to all the rooms in my offices like I was some criminal.
"Someone must have called and said I was having a party because they saw trucks delivering lights and balloons and images.
"They quickly understood that it was not attended in real life by people but by 70 cardboard cut-outs and Zoom people. I had an operator for lights and he was behind a glass, had a mask and was doing social distancing."
Adding: "I went through unbelievable efforts to adhere to the rules. The police were surprised that there were no people that they could issue a fine to."
But despite the initial visit, another two officers returned to the property later on to double check.
Mr Varsano said: "It was a little bit funny, but we had to take it seriously. They were very nice and realised there wasn't anything illegal. They bid us farewell, but it was a bit alarming."
Though Ms Tchenguiz said they didn't let it dampen their spirits, and said she had a wonderful time, thanks to her boyfriend.
She said: "The police didn't dampen my spirits. They were kind enough to say hello to my friends. They were doing what they need to do.
"It was incredible. I saw these cut-outs and they looked so real and then I turned around and saw a screen of my friends from all over the world."
Speaking about the incident, a spokesperson for Scotland Yard said they received a number of reports about the party.
They said: "Police received six reports about a gathering of people at premises in Park Lane. Officers attended the premises. No further action was taken."