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We have seized five vehicles, a generator and other equipment on dispersing a rave near Bath.
We had the first report of the potential unlicensed music event at 11.21pm on Saturday 18 July. Officers attended within 10 minutes, quickly established there were 1000 people at the location – the former Charmy Down airfield, Upper Swainswick – and called for further resources.
We had dedicated patrols on duty last night to respond to any reported unlicensed music events across the force area. These units – working closely with neighbourhood officers and landowners – had already prevented a rave from taking place in the Frome area last night. They were immediately redeployed to this incident.
Officers closed off the approach routes, however people were abandoning vehicles and making their way to the site on foot. We were still turning vehicles away after dawn on Sunday 19 July.
The risks to public safety of closing an event attended by more than 3000 people in dark and wet conditions were too great, with police resources already dealing with other significant incidents across the force area including 120 calls to 999 requiring an immediate response.
“We’re sorry for the disruption caused to so many residents. It’s frustrating that we are having to pull officers away from our 999 response to deal with the selfish actions of the organisers of this event and those attending it.
“They knew full well the disruption this would cause and the ongoing risk to public health of large gatherings due to COVID-19. We brought officers in from their rest days and called on support from neighbouring forces to close down this event.”Chief Superintendent Ian Wylie
C/Supt Wylie added that the impact of the rave was felt by other emergency services, with around eight 999 calls to the ambulance service linked to the event.
The music was turned off by 1pm on Sunday 18 July. The majority of the site was cleared by 4pm but officers then had to deal with a group trying to continue the event in an adjoining field.
One person was arrested for failing to comply with a notice to quit the land. An investigation is underway to identify and take appropriate action against those responsible for this event.
We ask anyone with evidence which could help to get in touch, quoting reference 1414 of 18 July.
We need to know if you suspect an event is being set up so we can intervene early on to prevent it. Look out for the signs:
• promotion on social media
• vans unloading sound equipment
• more and more people gathering
Call 101 straight away with as much information as you can about the people and vehicles involved.
We’d especially urge farmers and landowners (urban or rural) to review their security measures – you can contact your neighbourhood team for advice on 101.