Mass gatherings of unlicensed events will not be tolerated, and anyone who attends or organises these events can expect to face robust action.
This is the stark warning issued by Sussex Police, after almost 100 arrests were made during a ‘rave’ in Steyning.
Officers responded to the large scale event off Bostal Road in the early hours of Sunday 27 June, where some 2,000 people were found to be in attendance.
A large number of officers were deployed to ensure public safety and to bring the event to a safe conclusion, however some were met with significant hostility.
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.
Images, provided by the National Police Air Service helicopter, illustrate the scale of the event.
Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges: “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 this event – in the grip of a global pandemic – cannot go unnoticed.
“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. 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.
In the meantime, police 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.”