VICTORIA -- Saanich police handed a hefty fine to a house-party host on Saturday night.

Police responded to reports of a party in the Gordon Head area around 10:30 p.m.

Officers say they witnessed between 10 and 15 people gathered on the deck of a home, in contravention of public health orders preventing social gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police say the partiers scattered out the back of the home when officers arrived.

The host denied any party had taken place, police said in a statement Monday.

“The host was likely unaware that police had arrived and witnessed the party long before they all scattered out the back door,” said Saanich police Const. Markus Anastasiades.

The host was issued a $2,300 ticket for violating the Emergency Program Act.