Farmer says police 'ineffective' over rave

RICHARD PARR Norfolk farmer Jeremy Mason was last night counting the cost of an illegal rave which saw up to a thousand people converge on his land on New Year's Eve .


Norfolk farmer Jeremy Mason was last night counting the cost of an illegal rave which saw up to 1,000 people converge on his land on New Year's Eve.

Mr Mason said he felt “under attack” as 50-strong vehicle convoys converged on his 1,500-acre farm near Sporle.

And he claimed “ineffective” police management was hindering the efforts of officers on the ground in dealing with trespassers on private land.

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Mr Mason's anger deepened last night after a Norfolk police statement described the event not as a rave, but as an “unlicensed music event”.

A police spokesman said that under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the event did not meet the criteria to be categorised as a rave. There had been no official complaints to the police about the noise levels.

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Norfolk police authority chairman Stephen Bett said officers could only do as much as the law allowed.

“If the government declared these raves illegal we could do something about them,” he said.

Mr Bett added that with an estimated 1,000 revellers at the event and

already stretched police resources, officers were “overwhelmed”.

However, Mr Mason believes that unless police take a stronger stand against illegal rave organisers, farmers and landowners will be forced to take the law into their own hands.

Mr Mason said that the rave, which started at about 10pm on New Year's Eve and continued well into New Year's Day, caused thousands of pounds of damage to his farm. There was one arrest for a public order offence.

His sown-fields were left strewn

with rubbish, human excrement, condoms and evidence of drug abuse.

At one point during the night, people were dancing on the roof of his 60ft high grain store opposite where the main rave was staged inside a 350-year-old barn.

Yesterday, Mr Mason showed the EDP the site of the rave and the beer cans, bottles, soiled toilet paper and other rubbish that was strewn over his fields.

He said: “Senior police officers need to allow their officers on the ground more powers to deal with this situation.

“I felt as if I was under attack when hundreds of vehicles converged on my land.”

Last night, Chief Supt Bob Scully of Norfolk police said: “It is sad that through the selfish behaviour of

people avoiding the licensing system and the proper safety and environmental controls, disruption and damage has been caused to the environment, the local farm business and residents. We will be reviewing the evidence that we have gained and consider with local authority environmental health officials what action can be taken against the organisers”.

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