Police defend stance on Swaffham rave

Police could not stop an 18-hour music event in a forest near Swaffham at the weekend because it did not fit the legal definition of a rave.More than 400 partygoers descended on land between Cockley Cley and Drymere and partied there for about 18 hours on Sunday.

Police could not stop an 18-hour music event in a forest near Swaffham at the weekend because it did not fit the legal definition of a rave.

More than 400 partygoers descended on land between Cockley Cley and Drymere and partied there for about 18 hours on Sunday.

The police helicopter and more than 20 officers were sent to the scene, but Carl Edwards, chief inspector of the Breckland area of Norfolk Police, said officers could not break up the event because it did not fit the definition of a rave under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.

He said that under this act a rave had to “cause serious distress to the inhabitants of the locality” and that because the forest was in a remote area it fell outside the area of legislation.

“I have huge sympathy for the Forestry Commission and the landowners,” said Chief Insp Edwards.

Rachel Riley, a forester for the Forestry Commission, said the partygoers had left rubbish in the forest which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Special Protection Area (SPA) that is especially important for birds.