August 2 2014 Latest news:
Peter Walsh, Crime correspondent
Monday, July 29, 2013
A Norfolk police chief has vowed to keep up the pressure on those behind illegal raves after a teenager suffered serious head injuries following an event near North Walsham at the weekend.
The warning from Assistant Chief Constable Nick Dean comes after unlicensed music events (UMEs) were held in the county in the last two weekends, with the air ambulance dispatched to both to airlift casualties to hospital.
An 18-year-old man was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge with serious head injuries after falling about 10ft from a speaker rig following an illegal rave in Swanton Abbott yesterday (28 July) while a 26-year-old woman was airlifted to hospital after collapsing at a UME in Croxton, near Thetford, last weekend after taking a cocktail of drugs.
ACC Dean said the recent incidents highlighted the dangers that unlicensed events posed to party-goers and why a robust policing response was necessary.
He said: “Norfolk Constabulary adopts a hard line approach to these events which are unlicensed and unregulated.
“We have a responsibility for enforcing licensing conditions and therefore have a duty of care to make sure events held in Norfolk are safe for people to attend.
“The incidents in Croxton and Swanton Abbott over the last two weekends demonstrate what can go wrong. In both cases these incidents could have had fatal consequences were it not for the swift action of the emergency services.
“Illegal rave organisers have little concern for the health, safety and welfare of those attending the event; for the local residents who are adversely affected by noise, rave-related anti-social behaviour and the impact on the environment; or the landowner left with the litter and damage.”
Police have the power to close-down events, seize equipment and vehicles and will seek to prosecute organisers behind UMEs.
Four people were arrested following the incident in Swanton Abbott yesterday, while sound equipment was also seized.
Officers received reports of loud music being played in a remote location shortly after midnight and had been working to close down the event as soon as was safely possible.
During the police operation, officers received reports that a man who had climbed on a speaker rig was injured after falling about 10ft onto farm machinery.
Police provided first aid until paramedics arrived and the teenager was taken to hospital where his condition is described as stable.
More than 250 people had attended the event and a 23-year-old man and 21-year-old woman were arrested at the scene in connection with organising the event.
Both were taken into custody at Wymondham Police Investigation Centre for questioning and have been released on bail until September while enquiries continue.
Police made two other arrests in connection with drugs offences – a 17-year-old woman was reprimanded for possession of a Class-A drug while an 18-year-old man was charged with possession offences.
Connor Hatt, of Byron Walk, in Thetford, was charged with possession of a Class B drug (cannabis) and possession of a Class C drug (Ketamine). He has been released on bail to appear before Norwich Magistrates Court on Thursday, August 15.
ACC Dean said members of the public could help prevent and disrupt incidents by looking out for a number of factors including:
• Any sightings of vans, lorries or large numbers of vehicles
• Sightings of fliers advertising raves
• Broken padlocks on access gates, to areas where a rave may take place.
A large amount of work is also carried out behind the scenes to help prevent and disrupt this activity, as ACC Dean explained. “We regular monitor intelligence and social networking sites to enable preventative work to be taken.
“Early intervention in prevent and disrupting events is key – accurate and timely information on the factors outlined such as sightings of large numbers of vehicles is extremely useful to us and can allow police to close down an event before it’s even started.
“If we receive the information when the event is already underway, it may appear that we are not taking immediate action, but the public can be reassured we will be working behind the scenes to secure the closure of the event and prosecute organisers and those involved.