Police search for organisers of 3000-strong illegal rave near Bath

"They knew full well the disruption this would cause and the ongoing risk to public health"

Police are trying to track down the organisers of an illegal rave near Bath.

The event, which was attended by more than 3000 people and could be heard five-miles away, was held on a disused airfield on Saturday evening (July 18).

Avon and Somerset Police were not able to safely intervene to halt the illegal rave but called in additional officers to help break up the gathering on Sunday morning.

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Speaking about the incident, Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie said: “We’re sorry for the disruption caused to so many residents. It’s frustrating that we are having to pull officers away from our 999 response to deal with the selfish actions of the organisers of this event and those attending it.

“They knew full well the disruption this would cause and the ongoing risk to public health of large gatherings due to Covid-19. We brought officers in from their rest days and called on support from neighbouring forces to close down this event.”

Wylie added that police had managed to stop another rave earlier on Saturday in Frome, with officers suspecting that the event may have been organised by the same people. It is thought that the organisers had a number of possible sites for the illegal event in order to dupe the police.

One arrest was made and sound equipment and vehicles were seized which police hoped would help them identify the organisers. They also launched an appeal asking people with any information to come forward.

illegal rave
Credit: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Back in June, experts warned that England could experience a wave of illegal raves over the summer as the coronavirus lockdown is eased.

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With the summer festival and live music season effectively wiped out by the coronavirus outbreak, it’s now feared that many young people will turn to these illegal mass gatherings throughout the summer.

Speaking to The Guardian, Night Time Industries Association chief executive Mike Kill said “the youth of today want to be out and want to be engaged”.

“There are a lot of people out there who are socially starved at the moment. And that’s why these illegal raves are starting to pop up because [people] have been trapped inside four walls for a long time now,” he said. “I don’t think there is anyone in our industry who couldn’t see this coming.”

Kill added: “Without very clear timelines there’s a lot of people looking at creating their own opportunities, socially, and putting on raves – almost like the 80s, in some respects.”

Thousands of people attended two raves in Greater Manchester in June, during which a 20-year-old man died from a suspected overdose, a woman was raped and three people were stabbed.

Greater Manchester Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Chris Sykes subsequently explained why the raves weren’t stopped, saying: “It’s not about what we allow, it’s about how we respond to things that take place.”
There has also been reports of illegal raves taking place in Leeds, Staffordshire and London over the past month. It’s been reported that such events are advertised to attendees on Snapchat and Instagram on the day, before their locations are revealed at the 11th hour through WhatsApp messages and Google Maps pins.
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