Illegal ravers ‘will not be tolerated’ warns police chief after thousands descend on Sussex party

Police are warning would-be ravers illegal partying will not be tolerated after 90 people were arrested this weekend.

Wednesday, 30th June 2021, 3:19 pm

Thousands of people descended on a party off Bostal Road in the early hours of Sunday June 27 with scores of police including the helicopter and numerous vans scrambled to the scene.

And now police are telling the public unlicensed events will not be tolerated with attendees and organisers facing ‘robust action’.

Around 2,000 people were at the event in Steyning where police faced ‘significant hostility’ as they tried to break up the revellers.

An image of the rave - taken by the police helicopter
An image of the rave - taken by the police helicopter

A police spokesman said: “A total of 90 arrests were made, of which 79 were for motoring offences – drink or drug-driving, or failing to provide a specimen for analysis.

“Of the 79 arrested for driving offences, seven have been charged to court, while the remaining 72 have been bailed or released under investigation pending further enquiries.

“A further 11 arrests were made for public nuisance and disorder offences.”

A number of vehicles were seized, as well as equipment including speakers, staging, lights and generators, he added.

This aerial image, released by police, shows the scale of the party

Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges said: “Our significant response to this unlicensed music event demonstrates that this sort of behaviour will absolutely not be tolerated, and anyone planning to attend – or organise – any future events of this nature in Sussex can expect to face the full force of the law.

“We had no prior intelligence of this event taking place, and our investigations have revealed the vast majority of attendees came from outside of Sussex. I can assure you those people will not be returning to Sussex for any similar events – if they do, they will again face robust action.”

The ‘deplorable’ actions of those who organised and attended the event – in the grip of a global pandemic – cannot go unnoticed, he added.

CSU Hodges said: “In particular, I am appalled by the large number of attendees suspected of driving to or from the event whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Thermal imaging shows the number of people who flocked to the countryside to join the illegal rave.

“Drink and drug-driving is one of the five most common causes of fatal and serious injury collisions on our roads, and it is only thanks to the swift response of our officers that we were able to intercept so many suspects – potentially preventing a considerable number of casualties.”

The Rural Crime Team is working with the landowners and enquiries are ongoing to determine if any further offences have been committed, said police. In the meantime, officers are appealing for anyone with any information about the incident – in particular anyone with evidential footage – to report it online or call 101, quoting Operation Entity.

Chief Supt Hodges added: “I’d like to thank the large number of officers and staff involved from both Sussex and neighbouring South East forces for their professionalism throughout, and the public for their patience and understanding while we responded to this unprecedented incident.”