VAL-DES-MONTS, QUE. -- Police in western Quebec say they broke up another party contravening COVID-19 gathering rules and handed more than $18,000 in fines.

The MRC des Collines police said in a release Monday that officers were called to a home on H. Zurenski Road in Val-des-Monts, Que. at around 11:25 p.m. Friday on reports of a possible illegal gathering.

When officers arrived they found several vehicles with people inside. Two women in one of the cars told officers they were staying at a short-term rental for a birthday party. When the women were told their gathering was illegal, they told police to come back with a warrant.

Police then obtained a warrant and returned to the home, handing out 12 tickets for breaking COVID-19 gathering rules, amounting to $18,600 in fines.

Police also said one of the women received an additional ticket because she refused to wear a mask and maintain a physical distance of two metres from the police officers.

Val-des-Monts and the rest of the Outaouais region are in Quebec's Level 3 or "orange" alert level, which prohibits private gatherings under most circumstances.

MRC des Collines police have routinely broken up parties and gatherings in their region and have issued thousands of dollars in fines to residents and visitors. Most recently, police said they ticketed seven people from Ontario who were staying at a short-term rental in Cantley, Que.