WATCH: The officers of the moment shut down Steyning’s illegal rave Brighton News

It was then that officers stepped in to put an end to an illegal rave that was witnessed by thousands of people.

More than 50 people have been arrested after police shut down a rave held in the picturesque South Downs in “total disregard” of Covid-19 regulations.

Sussex Police said at its peak, up to 2,000 people were in attendance at the “big unlicensed music event” in Steyning, West Sussex on Sunday.

The force said people had been arrested on suspicion of offenses such as drunk driving and drug use, drug possession and theft.

The number of arrests is expected to increase, making the incident “one of the most significant unplanned operations Sussex police have seen in recent years”.

A “large volume” of music equipment, including public address systems and speakers, was seized by officers and, as a result, eight people were identified as the organizers of the apparent rave and arrested.

Under coronavirus rules, gatherings cannot exceed 30 people, unless they are covered by a legal exemption.

Organizers of illegal gatherings can face fines of up to £ 10,000.

Sussex Police said they were made aware of the event, which drew large crowds from outside the area in the early hours of Sunday and deployed officers in an attempt to bring it to a ‘safe conclusion’.

Photos and videos on social media appeared to show crowds dancing in a field in front of loudspeakers playing music earlier on Sunday, while police said the event included large numbers of vehicles and pedestrians near from Bostal Road.

Drone footage from the scene showed large numbers of vehicles lined up along the region’s country roads.

Sussex Police said officers “attempted to engage with those present, but encountered significant hostility.”

An officer was “assaulted while trying to detain an individual who resisted arrest,” the force said.

A police community support worker was treated for a suspected broken arm following a collision involving a police car and a vehicle driven by someone leaving the event.

The driver and passengers of the second vehicle were also taken to hospital as a precaution, police said.

A 20-year-old man from Redditch, Worcestershire has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in connection with the crash.

A second collision with another police vehicle was reported at around 7 p.m. after the driver was arrested on suspicion of not stopping, of dangerous driving and of not having taken a breathalyzer test.

The police gave the order to leave the area at 5.45 p.m. and at 7.15 p.m. the event “came to an end”.

Various roads were closed as police dealt with the incident, and cars were stopped by officers as they left the area to verify drivers were fit to drive.

Police urged people to avoid the area on Sunday evening, adding that officers would continue to proactively stop all vehicles leaving the area.

John O’Sullivan, a 46-year-old comedian from Horsham, said: “Everyone dispersed when the police arrived.

He continued, “There were about 1,000 people when we (were) there. The music was cut off by the police and they surrounded the audio system.

“People didn’t know what to do. They were sprawled out in cars, in the grass.

“They picked up the trash, but not all of them, but a lot of people (have) made an effort to pick it up.

“There was a lot of human poop which, as you can imagine, was quite sinister.”

Detective Superintendent Juliet Parker said: “Due to the senseless actions of a large number of people, the majority of whom have traveled from outside the county, the community of Steyning has experienced significant disruption and I would like to personally thank the audience for their patience, understanding and cooperation as we sought to bring this event to a close.

“With a situation of this magnitude, our top priority must be the safety of the public as well as our emergency workers and colleagues on the scene.

“So it required a significant police response involving officers from all over Sussex as well as officers from surrounding forces. Officers who would normally have had to deal with serious crime and support the most vulnerable in our counties.

“These people have shown complete disregard for the local community, the region’s heritage and existing Covid-19 regulations.

“We will not tolerate such behavior in Sussex, as evidenced by the high volume of arrests made during the event.

“We will continue to thoroughly investigate this illegal activity, seeking to continue arrests and prosecutions where possible. ”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-28 14:38:58

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