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People should not snitch on their neighbours for breaching the ‘rule of six’ unless they are having large parties, Boris Johnson has said.

Any social gathering of more than six people in England is against the law, with people facing fines of up to £3,200 if they do not abide by the new measure.

However, the Prime Minister has now urged that people to speak with rule-breakers before notifying the authorities. “I have never much been in favour of sneak culture, myself,” Mr Johnson said.

The Prime Minister’s advice appears to be at odds with that of Home Secretary Priti Patel, who said she would call the police if her neighbours flouted the ‘rule of six’.

Ms Patel even suggested families stopping to talk in the street could be breaking the new laws.

“What people should do in the first instance is obviously if they are concerned is raise it with their friends and neighbours,” Mr Johnson told The Sun.

“But I think what is reasonable for anyone to do is if they think there is a serious threat to public health as a result of their neighbours’ activities – if there is some huge kind of Animal House party taking place, as I am sure, hot tubs and so forth, and there is a serious threat to public health then its reasonable for the authorities to know.”

Animal House is an American comedy which marked John Belushi’s film debut as a hard-partying college fraternity member.

Coronavirus: ‘Rule of six’ explained

Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter has said that police officers on the front line were “trying to interpret” the rules, which came into effect on Monday.

In response to a question about having “more guidance” on Good Morning Britain, he responded: “Maybe we should have ‘guidance’, because we haven’t had any yet.”

Meanwhile, people in the North East are awaiting an announcement on Thursday on new restrictions which are expected to come into effect from midnight, while a local lockdown will begin from 6pm in south Wales.