500 people at illegal rave as paramedics rush to treat unwell man
- Credit: Archant
Police are trying to break up an illegal rave which has attracted more than 500 people to Thetford Forest.
The unlicensed music event began on Saturday (August 29) night and around 100 vehicles remain at the site, in an area of woodland at Lynford near to the English Heritage site Grimes Graves.
Paramedics have also been called following reports of a man becoming unwell.
Officers were first informed of the gathering at 11.20pm on Saturday, when a member of the public reported seeing dozens of cars queueing to access a fire route to the forest.
A police helicopter, the drone and dogs unit have been sent to the area, located in an isolated part of the forest off the A134.
More than 500 people remain at the rave and more than 100 vehicles are still on site.
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Police are working to close the event down in a safe and controlled manner, adding that it was scheduled to continue into bank holiday Monday.
Assistant chief constable Nick Davison, who is leading the operation, said: “We’ve deployed a number of resources to the scene including specially trained public order officers who are experienced in dealing with such events.
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“Following assessments, it’s clear this is a well-established and planned event. We are working to close the event down in a controlled manner, taking the safety of those in attendance and our officers into account.
“Due to the number of people at the event, additional policing resources will be needed and this will take time to resource.
“Coronavirus is still with us and continues to be a real threat so it’s extremely disappointing to see these types of events taking place when the rest of our communities are doing everything they can to help stop the spread of the virus.
“We will work to identify organisers, seize equipment, deal with any criminal offences and impose penalties where evidence is available.”
People living miles away from the site have complained about the noise from the event.
Mark Phillips, who lives in Boundary Close in Brandon, said his family, including children aged two and 15 months, had been kept awake throughout Saturday night.
He said: “We were awake all night with two little children. It’s absolutely horrendous. I thought it was my next door neighbour having a rave it is that loud.
“It is non-stop thumping. We are three miles away and can still hear it because it is still going on.
“All the neighbours have phoned the police but we’ve all been told the same thing; they cannot do anything about it because there are too many people there, but yet they are still letting people in because they say they cannot stop them. It’s ridiculous.”
Throughout Sunday, ravers were seen walking along both sides of the A134, with many drivers forced to swerve into the middle of the busy road to avoid them.
Dozens of cars were still parked in numerous lay-bys on the perimeter of Thetford Forest, while several vehicles had been left on the grass verge of the road leading from the A134 to Santon Downham.
An older woman, who lives in the village but asked not to be named, spent hours picking up litter left behind by party-goers including beer crates and nitrous oxide canisters.
She said retrieving the rubbish was something she “shouldn’t have to do”, but had been left with “no choice” with much of it left strewn outside her home.
The woman added that her lane had been “packed” with cars overnight, many of which departed before 9am.
From Friday, police in England were given new powers to fine organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people up to £10,000.
Those who attend gatherings, such as raves, and those who do not wear face coverings where it is mandatory can be given a £100 fine - doubling on each offence up to £3,200.
Earlier this month, Norfolk police broke up a rave attended by hundreds of people on land off the A1065 near Hilborough.
And ahead of the late August bank holiday weekend, the force urged members of the public to be “extra eyes and ears” to stop illegal gatherings.