Police issue first £10,000 fines to nine people over illegal raves

30 August 2020, 20:04

Police being called to a large street party in Northfield just after midnight
Police being called to a large street party in Northfield just after midnight. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

At least nine people have been fined £10,000 for their part in organising illegal raves over the bank holiday weekend.

At least nine people have been fined £10,000 for their part in organising illegal raves over the bank holiday weekend.

New rules which came into force on Friday ahead of the bank holiday weekend mean organisers of illegal raves could be hit with £10,000 fines.

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

The force also 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.

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

West Yorkshire Police 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.

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.

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."

Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh also called for clarity around the new legislation which he said would allow officers to "be more forceful clearing the area immediately, close the area down".

Andy Rhodes, Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary, 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.

It comes as around 3,000 people attended an illegal event in Banwen in South Wales.

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