Illegal raves shut down by police in Greater Manchester and Bristol hours after lockdown announcement

Tyres slashed and bottles thrown at officers dispersing events in Wigan and Yate

Peter Stubley
Sunday 01 November 2020 15:56 GMT
Bottles were thrown at officers trying to break up a warehouse party in Yate, South Gloucestershire
Bottles were thrown at officers trying to break up a warehouse party in Yate, South Gloucestershire (iStock/Getty)

Police shut down illegal raves in Greater Manchester,  South Gloucestershire and London on Halloween, hours after Boris Johnson announced a second national lockdown.

Officers were called to an event in Wigan at 8.45pm on Saturday after a farm owner discovered around 300 people dancing to loud music on his land.

Dozens more partygoers were turned away as they tried to access the 320-acre site and a 36-year-old man was arrested for possession of class A drugs.

Seven police vehicles had their tyres slashed after officers blocked off routes into the farm, which is on the border with Glazebury in Cheshire. A machete was found in bushes at the site.

Meanwhile Avon and Somerset Police were called to an illegal rave at a warehouse in Yate, near Bristol, at around 10.35pm.

Hundreds of people had gathered the party and some became “hostile” after being ordered to leave or face arrest and threw bottles and lit spray cans, the force said. Several officers were injured but remained on duty.

The gathering continued even after the power supply to the warehouse was cut off and up to 700 people were still at the site at 4am.

Police were still struggling to disperse the event on Sunday afternoon and two people have been arrested.

Avon and Somerset Police Chief Inspector Mark Runacres said: “This has been an incredible challenging operation, with a large number of people in a confined space and several officers being assaulted.

“We’re sorry for the disruption caused by the selfish actions of the organisers of this event and those attending. This unlicensed event was organised in secret, despite people being fully aware of the ongoing risk to public health due to Covid-19. Their actions were wholly irresponsible and I am sure will disgust the overwhelming majority of people who are making huge sacrifices to limit the spread of the virus."

The Metropolitan Police said it dealt with 11 unlicensed music events and illegal gatherings overnight, including a Christening celebration in Tottenham, north London.

Officers seized a large amount of music equipment from an event in Poplar, east London, attended by around 1,000 people. Seven people were arrested under the coronavirus regulations for holding the event and each face a £10,000 fine.

Greater Manchester Police said they had received no prior intelligence that the event in Wigan was going to take place.

Assistant Chief Constable Rob Potts said: “This event was a clear and flagrant breach of the regulations in place to keep people safe and a comprehensive investigation has been launched to bring the organisers to justice.

“As well as being illegal, these events are not safe and the fact a machete was recovered from the site of this event is a worrying but important reminder that this very much remains the case.

“Our dedicated plans to tackle events like these meant that this illegal gathering didn’t compromise our response to other ongoing incidents, but we must all work together and continue to abide by the government regulations to avoid unnecessary demands on all emergency services. Where there are blatant breaches there will be robust enforcement.”

Under the new restrictions coming into force on Thursday, 5 November, people will not be able to meet socially indoors with anyone outside their household. When outdoors, people will only be able to meet with one person from another household.

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