Cops battle to shut down illegal Bank Holiday raves across UK as they dish out £80K in fines
COPS today battled to shut down illegal Bank Holiday raves after dishing out at least £80,000 worth of fines to organisers.
Officers in South Wales spent the afternoon trying to shut down an illegal gathering in Neath Port Talbot as 3,000 youngsters caused a raucous in the village of Banwen.
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Residents told Wales Online they had been kept up since 1am as crowds descended on a nearby forest, with one person describing the scenes as "frightening".
They said: "It's so frightening after spending months in lockdown to see so many people together."
Another added: "Well I think it’s horrendous that a 73 year old age pensioner was woken up this morning with the load of people allowed to have illegal raves on the top of of Roman Road."
'OH WE PARTY'
Youngsters were pictured crammed together with booze in footage posted from the scene online.
One boasted about the illegal rave on social media, writing "oh we party" in a clip shared from the event.
South Wales Police Chief Superintendent Simon Belcher said: “It has been estimated there are up to 3,000 people at the gathering who have apparently travelled from across the UK and we are looking at all pieces of legislation as to what action can be undertaken safely."
Meanwhile, officers in Norfolk tried to shut down a rave of more than 500 people in Thetford Forest this morning, which started late on Saturday night.
West Midlands Police also said it dealt with about 90 reports of possible breaches of restrictions early on Sunday but that they have "not had to use our enforcement powers".
It comes after police in Norfolk fined eight party animals £10,000 each across Headingley and Burley last night – the first time Brits have been slapped with the whopping new fee.
Six of the fines in Norfolk were handed to home owners and party organisers – while two were given to DJs who also had their equipment seized.
Another 15 ravers were fined £100 each for turning up.
In Essex, cops said they had seized thousands of pounds of equipment ahead of an unlicensed music event due to have taken place in Harlow on Saturday afternoon – they are looking to take the organisers to court.
Chief Inspector Lewis Basford warned: "My final message is to the organisers: we will seize the equipment – I don't care if you've hired it from someone or if it's yours, we will break up your event, and we can now fine you up to £10,000."
Anyone in England caught organising an illegal gathering can now be fined £10,000 after new rules designed to catch those flouting social distancing rules were put in place last week.
Anyone who attends the gatherings could also be fined up to £100 each.
Repeat offenders could be slapped with a £3,200 sum.
Of the new measures, Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “These gatherings are dangerous and those who organise them show a blatant disregard for the safety of others.
“I am pleased the police have already stepped up their response and I am giving them the tools they need to continue to keep us safe.
“We will continue to crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law.”
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