Wales rave: Dozens hold out at illegal event despite risk of arrest

Locals complain of litter dumping and defecation at 4,000-acre site in Banwen

Peter Stubley
Monday 31 August 2020 18:20
Wales rave: Eyewitness gives account after dozens hold out at illegal event despite risk of arrest

Police struggled to shut down an illegal rave in Wales as revellers defied the threat of arrest or a £10,000 fine under new coronavirus laws.

Local residents complained that the partygoers were defecating and dumping rubbish all over the 4,000-acre site in Banwen, close to the Brecon Beacons.

Around 3,000 people from all over the UK turned up to the event on Sunday in a former opencast coal mine, which is usually used for rally car racing.

South Wales Police, with the help of Dyfed-Powys Police and the British Transport Police, attempted to shut down the event by seizing music equipment and issuing a dispersal order. Two organisers were also issued with fixed penalty notices for breaching the Welsh Government’s new legislation.

However at least 400 people remained at the site on Monday afternoon as a police helicopter continued to monitor the event.

Officers issued eight people with a court summons while others had their cars towed away or received fines for parking offences.

The remaining ravers were told to move on by nightfall or risk arrest and by 5pm only around 50 people were left, according to South Wales Police.

“When there’s 3,000 people to enforce a dispersal order on it becomes a massive issue,” said assistant chief constable David Thorne.

“Even with the resources we were able to deploy at short notice it wasn’t sufficient to be able to move people on any quicker in a safe way.

“The fact we’ve got less people now with the officers we’ve got available we will be taking proactive and positive action if people don’t heed the dispersal notice.”

Mr Thorne said the littering of the site was “just completely irresponsible and disrespectful of the local communities.”

He added: “Many of them have travelled hundreds of miles to get here so this hasn’t happened by accident.

“This has been planned and possibly planned for a little while, but unfortunately they have been able to plan this under the radar so none of the authorities were aware.”

Mr Thorne said the ravers had not been hostile to police but were “causing nuisance and disruption to local communities.”

“It’s people who have got their self-interest at heart and they intend on having a good time in their mind whatever that means – whether it’s drug use or alcohol use or just listening to music,” he added.

“The fact is that it’s illegal.”

Several other raves were shut down across the country over the Bank Holiday as police exercised their new powers to issue heavy fines to organisers.

Officers in Norfolk were pelted with missiles when they broke up a 500-strong rave in Thetford Forest and thousands of pounds worth of equipment was seized in a police crackdown in Leeds and Harlow, Essex.

Eight people were fined £10,000 by West Yorkshire Police after parties across Headingley and Burley and the Metropolitan Police said it had shut down 21 unlicensed music events in London.

Another £10,000 fixed penalty noticed was handed to Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for holding an anti-mask demonstration in Trafalgar Square in breach of the rules limiting gatherings to 30 people.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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