'Mindless': Police encounter 'significant hostility' as 2,000 attend Sussex rave

28 June 2021, 08:32 | Updated: 28 June 2021, 08:56

Police made more than 50 arrests
Police made more than 50 arrests. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Police encountered "significant hostility" and a community support officer suffered a suspected broken arm as they responded to a mass music event on Sunday.

Up to 2,000 people were at the unlicensed event in Steyning, in breach of Covid rules, and more than 50 arrests have been made.

Sussex Police said the gathering took place during the early hours yesterday and was brought to "a safe conclusion".

The force added that when officers tried to engage with those present, they were met with hostility.

An officer was assaulted while trying to detain somebody who resisted arrest, police said, while the PCSO was treated for a suspected broken arm after a collision involving a police car and a vehicle driven by someone leaving the event.

The driver and passengers of that vehicle were also taken to hospital as a precaution. A 20-year-old man from Redditch was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of both drink and drugs.

More than 50 people were arrested on suspicion of offences including drink and drug-driving, possession of drugs and theft.

The force said it expects the figure to increase, making it "one of the largest, unplanned operations Sussex Police has experienced in recent years".

Detective Superintendent Juliet Parker said: "Due to the mindless actions of a large number of people, the majority of whom have travelled from out of county, the community of Steyning has experienced significant disruption and I’d like to personally thank the public for their patience, understanding and co-operation as we sought to bring this event to a close.

"With a situation of this size, our utmost priority must be the safety of the public as well as our officers and emergency services colleagues at the scene. This therefore has required a significant police response involving officers from across Sussex as well as officers from surrounding forces.

"Officers who would have normally been dealing with serious crime and supporting the most vulnerable in our counties.

"These individuals have demonstrated a complete disregard for the local community, the heritage of the area and the existing Covid-19 regulations.

"We will not tolerate behaviour like this within Sussex, as can be seen by the high volume of arrests made over the course of the event. We will continue to robustly investigate this illegal activity; seeking to further arrest and prosecute wherever possible."

A large amount of music equipment, including sound systems and speakers, was seized by police.