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Secretive rave regular predicts many more illegal parties this summer

PUBLISHED: 06:01 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:21 11 August 2020

Police work to shut down a rave in Hilborough, near Swaffham. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Police work to shut down a rave in Hilborough, near Swaffham. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

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A regular on the Norfolk rave scene has defended the gatherings after police spent nearly 20 hours trying to shut one down in Hilborough, near Swaffham over the weekend.

Police shut down a rave in Hilborough, near Swaffham. Picture: Victoria PertusaPolice shut down a rave in Hilborough, near Swaffham. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Eight people were arrested after between 300-400 people attended the illegal event on land off the A1065, which is part of the Ministry of Defence-owned Stanford Training Area (STANTA), from 11.30pm on Saturday night until around 3pm on Sunday.

The man, who wants to remain anonymous and who has been going to raves for more than 10 years, predicted that there would be many more unlicensed music events this summer, as party-lovers tried to compensate for the coronavirus-related absence of music festivals.

But a Ministry of Defence spokesman condemned the attendees, saying they had left a “huge amount” of glass and rubbish and that gates and fences had been damaged during the party.

Despite a heavy police presence and numerous road closures in a bid to shut the party down, it was able to go ahead - and the raver said there was a “good atmosphere”.

Police work to shut down a rave in Hilborough, near Swaffham. Picture: Victoria PertusaPolice work to shut down a rave in Hilborough, near Swaffham. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

He said: “There were probably about 450 people there, but it’s hard to judge because the cars are so scattered there was constantly people everywhere.

“We left 3pm on Sunday and by that time there was a heavy police presence just monitoring the scene. I think they respected the fact everyone was on good behaviour.

“It was a great atmosphere, it was a friendly party, there was no fighting. People were going around with black sacks and the majority of the litter was picked up.”

He added: “The fact the festivals haven’t been able to go ahead this year is going to encourage people to come out and I think you will see a large rise in attendance of illegal raves and the parties themselves.”

The MoD spokesman said: “This unlicensed music event was an illegal incursion onto the MoD training estate and was also in breach of Covid-19 regulations. We are grateful to the local police for their role in dispersing those in attendance.

“We will need to conduct a biohazard risk assessment to protect staff before the rubbish can be cleared but anticipate this will be removed in the next day or so.”

With social distancing restrictions still in place, many are concerned about the effect these illegal meetings, in such large numbers, could have on the number of Covid-19 cases in Norfolk.

But the raver dismissed the issue, saying: “I understand why it gets a bad press, it is trespassing and sometimes there is damage.

“But it’s outside in fresh air in an open space. It’s the individual’s choice to participate, we all know the risks.”

He added: “I have been on the rave scene for over 10 years now.

“The reason I enjoy raves so much isn’t just for love of the music, but the vibe that comes with it.

“So many different walks of life coming together with a mutual respect that it’s a party for the people, no high entry fees, no big-headed security guards, just free music for free people.”

Police seized sound equipment from the scene, along with a nearby van believed to be involved.

■ Those arrested include:

- A man and woman aged 34 and 32, arrested on suspicion of licencing offences, were bailed until September 6

- A man, 19, arrested on suspicion of drug offences and for failure to leave as directed, was questioned and released under investigation

- A man, 22, arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance, and drug offences, was questioned and bailed until September 6

- A man, 21, arrested on suspicion of causing a public nuisance and drug offences, was questioned and bailed until September 6

- Lee Perry, 28, of Boyne Road, Bury St Edmunds, has been charged with threatening behaviour and released on bail to appear at King’s Lynn Magistrates Court on October 29

- A man, 31, arrested on suspicion of drug offences, was released prior to custody with further enquiries continuing

- A teenage boy arrested on suspicion of breaching a direction to leave was released and taken home to his parents where words of advice were given.

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Supt Malcolm Cooke said: “Unlawful raves like this can cause a considerable amount of local concern and disruption, and as they don’t have to conform to any safety standards, they also put those who choose to attend at risk.

“The action taken ensured that the event did not affect local villages into a second night.”


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