Hundreds STILL at illegal party 36 hours after descending on village

Hundreds of lockdown ravers are STILL at illegal party 36 hours after 3,000 revellers descended on Welsh village – despite huge police presence and threat of £10,000 fines for ringleaders

  • Around 400 ravers are still at an illegal party in the woods near village of Banwen
  • Police confiscated music equipment and towed away some parked vehicles
  • Eight people have handed court summons which could lead to fines of £10,000 
  • Crowds of officers wearing helmets moved in to break up Thetford Forest rave  
  • New rules mean organisers of illegal raves could be hit with £10,000 fines

There are still hundreds of people attending an illegal lockdown rave near a Welsh village, 36 hours after they first arrived. 

At least 400 people remain at the site of an illegal rave in the woods near the village of Banwen today.    

Around 70 South Wales police officers, assisted by Dyfed-Powys Police and the British Transport Police, were called out to the woods near the village of Barwen to execute a dispersal order. 

Around 70 South Wales Police officers, including mounted officers (pictured) executed a dispersal order at an illegal rave in the woods near the Welsh village of Banwen

At least 400 people are still believed to be attending the illegal lockdown rave near the Welsh village of Banwen

Sound equipment was also seized (pictured) from the site but hundreds of the ravers have refused to leave the area

The ravers have been at the illegal party for more than a day now, having arrived in the area 36 hours ago 

Sound equipment was also seized from the site but hundreds of the ravers have refused to leave the area.  

Eight people have been handed court summons which could see them given a fine of up to £10,000.

Assistant chief constable David Thorne, of South Wales Police, said that police had difficulty shifting people from the 4,000 acre site, which is usually used for rally car racing.

‘When there’s 3,000 people to enforce a dispersal order on it becomes a massive issue,’ he said.

‘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 illegal ravers had positioned their lockdown party on a 4,000 acre site which is normally used for rally car racing

Eight people have been handed court summons which could see them given a fine of up to £10,000

Locals have already voiced complaints about the illegal music festival after rubbish was dumped and ravers defecated over the site because of a lack of toilet facilities

‘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.’

Fixed penalty notices have been issued for parking offences, with some vehicles having been towed away.

The ravers who have so far refused to leave have been warned to move on by nightfall or face arrest.

Locals have already voiced complaints about the illegal music festival after rubbish was dumped and ravers defecated over the site. 

Mr Thorne said: ‘We think this is just completely irresponsible and disrespectful of the local communities.

A young couple from Hereford rest in the back of their van earlier today at the site of an illegal rave

The ravers who have so far refused to leave have been warned to move on by nightfall or face arrest

A group of the ravers who are still attending an illegal lockdown party in the woods near the Welsh village of Banwen, 36 hours after they first arrived

‘We believe those present to be from all over the UK – 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.’

He added that the illegal ravers had not been hostile towards his officers and were just people with their own self-interest at heart intent on having a good time. 

‘The fact is,’ he said, ‘that it’s illegal and it’s causing nuisance and disruption to local communities so we can’t allow that to happen.’

Assistant chief constable David Thorne, of South Wales Police, said that the ravers had not been hostile towards the police officers trying to move them on

Police officers speak with one of the partygoers at the site of an illegal lockdown rave, earlier today

Thorne also said that the illegal party didn’t happen by accident as police believe the attendees arrived from all over the UK

Elsewhere, rowdy revellers confronted a line of riot shield-wielding police officers last night in a Norfolk forest after authorities tried to shut down their 500-person rave.

Crowds of police officers wearing helmets and hi-vis jackets moved in to break up the ‘well-established and planned’ all-night unlicensed music event in Thetford Forest.

One raver appeared to try to rip a riot shield out of the hands of an officer, while others were pictured raising their middle fingers as their party – which police think was due to take place throughout the long weekend – was shut down. 

Some people threw bottles and cans at officers as they tried to intervene.

It comes after new rules to crack down on mass gatherings came into force on Friday – leading to £90,000-worth of fines issued by Sunday night.

Rowdy revellers confronted a line of riot shield-wielding police officers in a Norfolk forest after authorities tried to shut down their 500-person rave

One raver appeared to try to rip a riot shield out of the hands of an officer in Thetford Forest

Crowds of police officers wearing helmets and hi-vis jackets moved in to break up the ‘well-established and planned’ all-night unlicensed music event in Thetford Forest

Norfolk Police described the organisation of a large gathering in Thetford forest, which began late on Saturday night, as ‘extremely disappointing’. Pictured: Police attempting to break up the event

The regulations – with were put in place ahead of the bank holiday weekend – gives police the power to hand out £10,000 fines. 

Earlier, West Yorkshire Police said eight people were fined £10,000 after several parties across Headingley and Burley on Saturday and into the early hours of Sunday. 

One man was fined £10,000 for a Headingley house party. Another gathering in the same area lead to four people being slapped with the enormous fee, Sky News reports.

Two DJs were fined £10,000 each in Burley.

Jeremy Corbyn’s brother Piers has been handed the first £10,000 fine in London for an illegal gathering after he organised a march claiming coronavirus is a hoax.

The 73-year-old meteorologist led more than 10,000 anti-lockdown protesters at the ‘Unite for Freedom’ rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday.

Mr Corbyn, the older brother of the former Labour leader, was seen being hauled off by officers after the event and his Twitter account has since confirmed he was slapped with the colossal fine and ‘held for ten hours.’  

The force (officers pictured at the event) said they would have to deploy extra resources to close the event down

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison, who is leading the Norfolk Police operation, said a drone unit, dogs, the National Police Air Service helicopter and specially trained public order officers had all been deployed to an isolated area of Thetford forest (pictured), near to the English Heritage site Grimes Graves

A reveller puts his hands up in front of riot police at the scene of an illegal rave in Thetford Forest

He said it was clear the ‘well-established and planned event’ (revellers pictured) was due to continue into Monday and the force was working to ‘close the event down in a controlled manner, taking the safety of those in attendance and our officers into account’

Revellers clash with riot police at the scene of the suspected illegal rave in Thetford Forest

A reveller clears up a rubbish in front of riot police as officers held up their shields in Thetford Forest

Police officers are seen near to the site of the suspected illegal rave in Norfolk

A large group of riot police wearing helmets and hi-vis jackets – and clutching riot shields – moved in

Meanwhile, ravers are thought to have travelled from across the UK to an illegal event in Wales attended by up to 3,000 people.

Officers are at the scene in Banwen, Neath Port Talbot, and South Wales Police have condemned the ‘totally unacceptable’ event.  

Two organisers have been issued fixed penalty notices of £10,000.

A statement from South Wales Police read: ‘We remain at the scene of an illegal rave in Banwen. Some music equipment has been removed after a section 63 notice was issued and two organisers have also been issued with fixed penalty notices of £10,000.’

Village residents say they have been kept awake since 1am when crowds began to gather in a nearby forest, with some saying they felt like ‘prisoners in their own home’. 

Superintendent Jason James said illegal events like the one in Banwen ‘have a significant impact on the community’.

He added: ‘Those gathering know that their actions are irresponsible and we are working with other agencies and utilising the legislation available to us including Covid-19 legislation but we need to ensure that any action taken is done so safely.’

Hundreds left their cars and vans parked illegally, obstructing roads throughout the village.

West Yorkshire Police said a man was arrested after DJing at a street party on Wepener Mount, Harehills

Police have broken up gatherings in Wales, Norfolk, Essex and Birmingham and seized thousands of pounds of music equipment

One woman who attended the rave this morning said she’d driven all the way from London to take part.

She said: ‘I’ve come from Lewisham in London and we travelled up following the party line and it’s been absolutely bloody fantastic. Met nothing but lovely people here as always.

‘That’s the thing about these events, everybody you meet is absolutely splendid and lovely and it’s all good vibes. There’s nothing bad to be said about these kinds of things to be honest.’

However, one local said he feels like a ‘prisoner’ in his own home, as young people are ‘obviously under the influence of drink and drugs’ and could be seen sleeping on benches in the village early this morning.  

Police officers arrive to break up a party in the Hyde Park area of Leeds last night as revellers flouted social distancing rules

Police seized what is believed to be around £20,000 of music equipment from an address in the Chapeltown area of Leeds

It was found in a garden and was suspected of being kept for an unlicensed music event

Residents of the village of Banwen say they have been kept awake since 1am when crowds began to gather in a nearby forest

Chief Superintendent Simon Belcher of South Wales Police said the force is ‘looking at all pieces of legislation’ as they deal with the huge crowds.

He said ‘This type of illegal gathering is totally unacceptable and we are aware of the concerns it is causing for the local community.

‘I would like to again remind people of their obligations under the current coronavirus legislation and the overarching goal for everyone to take personal responsibility by following Welsh Government regulations to Keep Wales Safe.

‘We have a number of resources in attendance including the police helicopter and roads policing officers.

One woman who attended the Wales rave this morning said she’d driven all the way from London to take part

South Wales Police have confirmed they are aware of the incident and have been in attendance

South Wales Police have confirmed they are aware of the incident and have been in attendance

‘It has been estimated there are up to 3,000 people at the gathering who have apparently travelled from across the UK and we are looking at all pieces of legislation as to what action can be undertaken safely.’

He said unlawfully parked cars ‘will be dealt with’ and people who turn up to the event will be turned away.

Norfolk Police described the organisation of a large gathering in Thetford forest, which began late on Saturday night and which officers believe was due to take place throughout the long weekend, as ‘extremely disappointing’.

The force said they would have to deploy extra resources to close the event down. 

One local said he feels like a ‘prisoner’ in his own home, as young people are ‘obviously under the influence of drink and drugs’

Speaking at the Banwen rave, a reveller said: ‘I’ve come from Lewisham in London and we travelled up following the party line and it’s been absolutely bloody fantastic’


Police confronted revellers in Leeds last night, with illegal parties taking place all over the country


Police confronted revellers in Leeds last night, with illegal parties taking place all over the country

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Davison, of Norfolk Police, said they had to draft in help from other forces and had deployed specialist teams of public order officers to go into the site and shut the music off.

He said they had ‘taken positive action to make sure the event didn’t go on into a second night’.

He added: ‘Officers did meet some hostility when entering the site with bottles and cans used as missiles and thrown at officers. Fortunately, no one was injured.

‘It’s extremely disappointing to see these types of events taking place when coronavirus continues to be a real threat to our communities.

‘We’re working to identify the organisers and will do everything within our power, where evidence is available, to prosecute and bring them to justice.’

West Yorkshire Police said one man has been charged with causing a public nuisance after officers broke up a street party on Wepener Mount, Harehills, on Saturday. Five other people at the party have been fined.

Superintendent Chris Bowen said: ‘We hope people will recognise the ongoing risks of holding or taking part in events such as this but where intervention is needed, we will fine people and make arrests.’ 

Meanwhile, thousands of pounds worth of equipment has also been seized in the police crackdown.

The force seized what they believe to be around £20,000 of music equipment from a garden at an address in the Chapeltown area of Leeds on Sunday which officers suspect was being kept for an unlicensed music event.

More than 200 revellers flouted restrictions at a rave in Birmingham last weekend. West Midlands Police said early on Sunday it had dealt with about 90 reports on Saturday

It came after Essex Police said it had also seized thousands of pounds’ worth of equipment – but did not give an exact figure – ahead of an unlicensed music event the force said was due to take place in Harlow on Saturday afternoon.

Chief Inspector Lewis Basford said organisers of such events should ask themselves if it was worth the risk of the new fines.

He said: ‘My final message is to the organisers: we will seize the equipment – I don’t care if you’ve hired it from someone or if it’s yours, we will break up your event, and we can now fine you up to £10,000.’

Humberside Police requested that the public avoid the area around the Buck Hotel in Driffield, East Yorkshire, due to an incident on Sunday morning. No further details were available.

West Midlands Police said it had dealt with about 90 reports from the public about possible breaches of restrictions by Sunday morning ‘but we’ve not had to use our enforcement powers’.

National vice chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales Che Donald said the legislation should be clearer to allow policing to be ‘more effective’.

He said: ‘Our police officers are doing an incredibly difficult job in testing circumstances but as always, they will be ready to deal with anything that may come their way over the long bank holiday weekend.’ 

Home Secretary Priti Patel has hit out at illegal rave organisers, who face £10,000 fines, warning them they are ‘not above law’

Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh warned the legislation will mean ‘absolutely nothing’ for enforcement in London.

He said: ‘It could be good for areas outside London, but it means absolutely nothing to us here.

‘People just set up a music box in the middle of the street and say ‘it’s not mine’, it’s utter nonsense.’

He called for clearer legislation which would allow officers to ‘be more forceful clearing the area immediately, close the area down, the Government need more forceful wording around groups of people gathering’.

But a police chief has argued confusion over the guidelines is being used by some as an ‘excuse’ to break the rules.

Andy Rhodes, Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, said there was a ‘world of difference’ between people acting sensibly and others who were ‘flagrantly’ ignoring the rules.

He argued confusion over the guidelines is being used by some as an ‘excuse’ to break the rules.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has defended the new rules, which came into force on Friday, saying it represents a crackdown on ‘the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions’.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, she said: ‘We will not allow this breathtakingly selfish behaviour from a senseless minority to jeopardise the progress we have made together.’

The Metropolitan Police force alone has responded to more than 1,000 unlicensed events since the end of June.

The new measures also mean people not wearing masks and participants in unlawful gatherings can be fined starting at £100, doubling for each repeat offence up to a maximum of £3,200.

Met Police Commander Bas Javid, Spokesperson for August Bank Holiday Weekend, said: ‘Yesterday officers worked tirelessly across London speaking with our local communities, reminding them that we remain in a health pandemic and that restrictions continue to be in place to keep them and their families safe.

‘Yesterday saw a number of demonstrations and events take place across the capital and officers proactively spoke with those who were either organising the events or taking part in them, advising them of their responsibilities under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2020 which states that no one may participate in a gathering which consists of more than 30 people either indoors, on a vessel or in a public outdoor space unless certain exemptions apply.

‘Our interaction and intervention saw the majority of people gathered disperse.

‘Five people have been spoken to in relation to the new legislation.

Thousands of pounds worth of equipment was seized by Essex Police ahead of an unlicensed music event

‘One individual has been reported under the new legislation, and that a fixed penalty notice would be issued for £10,000 for the offence of holding a gathering of more than 30 people in an outdoor public place contrary to regulations 5B(1), (2)(b)(iii) and 8(1) and (4) of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) Regulations 2020.

‘Officers also attended a UME in Dace Road, E3 at 23:10hrs – the UME was closed down and officers took details of four individuals who have been reported for consideration under the new legislation.

‘We have also begun a post investigation operation, and where we can identify individuals contravening the regulations or any criminal offences we will take action retrospectively.

’58 UMEs were reported to police yesterday, and officers attended and closed down 21 of those.

‘Today’s operation began this morning, with officers continuing to police right across London as they did yesterday with the same policing approach, the four E’s, engage, explain, encourage and as a last resort, enforce.

‘There have been a number of demonstrations in central London and we were actively out on the ground, speaking with people taking part continuing to emphasis the public health risk and the regulations, and that it was incumbent on them to fulfill the requirements under the new legislation to check the position and ensure that they were not committing an offence by being involved in a large gathering or they may be subject to a large fine.

‘Our policing response to each event may differ according to our operational decision making, based on information given to us subject to the new legislation.’ 

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