Eight arrests after illegal rave leaves Yate warehouse trashed
POLICE have now arrested eight people in relation to an illegal rave in Yate which left a warehouse trashed.
The last of up to 700 people who attended the event at the Stover Trading Estate were cleared from the building at 3.10pm yesterday, almost 17 hours after the first calls to police were made by residents.
Officers also seized sound equipment used in the rave at the warehouse off Millbrook Road.
An Avon and Somerset police spokesperson said the first officers arrived at the scene of the rave within 12 minutes of the force being alerted, at 10.35pm on Saturday.
They closed surrounding roads to stop more people driving to the warehouse but said hundreds were already inside and a "large number" continued to arrive on foot.
The spokesperson said some were "hostile to police, throwing items – such as bottles – at officers". They said all injuries to officers are believed to be minor.
The rave continued even after electricity distribution firm Western Power cut off the supply to the building, with the organisers using a generator.
Police entered the warehouse at about 1.50pm and seized the sound equipment, which was taken away, and the building was cleared by 3.10pm.
The police spokesperson said there were further attacks on officers, who were wearing protective gear as they moved in.
A total of eight people have been arrested, including a man in his 30s who was questioned on suspicion of being involved in organising the event.
Officers from neighbouring forces helped the Avon and Somerset unlicensed music events team, including members of the Gloucestershire police Serious and Organised Crime Operations Team, who took pictures (above and below) of the warehouse after the rave had finished and described the damage as "extensive".
Chief Inspector Mark Runacres said: “Our priority is always to protect the safety of the public and officers have acted with skill and bravery to bring this unlicensed event to a safe conclusion.
“These sorts of police operations are incredibly difficult to manage as we seek to bring those responsible to justice, while ensuring public safety.
“Anyone organising an unlicensed music event does so with no thought to others and to stage something of this nature at a time when COVID-19 cases are rising in the South West will rightly make those making sacrifices incredibly angry.
“Officers and staff will continue to examine footage captured on body worn cameras and drones in the coming days to allow appropriate action to be taken against those responsible.”
Police have asked anyone with footage or information relating to the event to call 101 or contact the force online, quoting log number 1369 of October 31.
Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cullen said the rave and other recent breaches showed the “truly shameful...level of disregard some people continue to show not just for themselves or the law but for other members of society".
He said: “What is horrifying about these cases was the attitude shown towards officers who are just doing their job.
“Several officers responding to the rave were injured by revellers throwing missiles, including lit aerosol cans.
“These people know exactly what they are doing and it is not only wrong but dangerous on multiple levels.”
A total of 33,525 reports of regulation breaches have been recorded since the start of the pandemic in the Avon and Somerset police areas, with 423 fixed penalty notices issued by officers.
There have been 44 fines in the past month, with officers attending more than 460 breach reports.
ACC Cullen added: “The vast majority of people have stuck to the rules and follow the guidance in place and we’re extremely grateful for this.
“However, as the weekend’s rave, breaches by pubs, house parties and people failing to self-isolate show, the message doesn’t appear to be getting through to everybody.
“The coronavirus legislation is in place to save lives and stop the spread of a virus which has claimed the lives of more than 46,000 people in the UK.
“We know we’re in for a difficult winter and the next few weeks and months are set to be particularly challenging if more restrictions are introduced as expected.
“We will continue to engage with the public as we have done throughout this crisis, explain the restrictions in place and encourage them to comply.
“But let me be clear, we won’t tolerate flagrant breaches of the regulations. We will move more swiftly to enforcement because we simply cannot allow the selfish actions of a few to jeopardise the determined efforts our communities have put in over the past seven months.
“The Government have given us an additional £680,000 to directly tackle the pandemic which we have used to set up a dedicated COVID-19 response team.
“This team will concentrate on dealing with reports of breaches coming in and proactively police areas where problems have previously occurred.
“We are fortunate the number of COVID-19 cases in the South West are not as high as some other parts of the UK, but they are rising and we cannot afford to be complacent.”