Herts residents asked to look out for signs of illegal gatherings in the county

Pistone Quarry, in Bucks. Picture: Creative Commons

Pistone Quarry, in Bucks. Picture: Creative Commons - Credit: Archant

Hertfordshire police are asking local communities to be alert to the presence of large, unlicensed gatherings this weekend.

With the recent warm weather and gradual easing of lockdown measures, many people have flocked to beaches, parks and beauty spots to soak up the sun.

However, social distancing is still very much in place, meaning large gatherings are still illegal while the country continues its efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Recently, Herts police officers turned away a vehicle at Pitstone Quarry, just over the border in Buckinghamshire. The vehicle contained large speakers and its occupants admitted they were planning to play music at a large gathering at the beauty spot.

Chief Inspector Chris Treadwell, who leads Hertfordshire’s crime reduction and community safety team, said: “Not only are unlicensed raves illegal but in the current circumstances, they clearly breach the government measures stating there must be no large gatherings in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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“These types of events are dangerous for attendees as there are often no crowd control measures, medical staff or security provision on site. Many people will likely accuse us of being spoilsports but we are here to keep the people of Hertfordshire safe.

“These unlicensed gatherings also pose difficulties for emergency services who, if in the event they are needed on the site, could struggle to access those who need help if no pre-planning has been undertaken by organisers.

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CI Treadwell added: “Therefore we would like to appeal for the public’s help and ask them to be alert to any suspicious activity in their communities. Often rave organisers choose rural locations so we are asking those living in these areas to remain vigilant, ensure their land is properly secured and report any suspicious activity to us.

“Those who organise these unlawful events will face the full force of the law in the form of arrest and prosecution. Those who choose to attend these events will also face enforcement action and could receive a criminal record. You could be risking your life by attending. Please, think twice.”

Be aware of the signs to spot, and inform the police if you see the following:

• Cropped bolts on gates

• Flattened or disturbed hedgerows

• People in vehicles stopping to look into a field

• People climbing over a fence or gate

• Posters or social media messages advertising a large gathering

• Vehicles entering fields or open spaces

• People unloading sound equipment

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