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Crackdown on illegal raves pays off

PUBLISHED: 10:50 21 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:54 03 July 2010

Norfolk is fast becoming a no-go zone for raves and illegal parties, the county's police chief has claimed.

Chief constable Ian McPherson admitted the county was once seen as easy-pickings for those planning underground events - but said a new zero tolerance approach is beginning to pay dividends.

Norfolk is fast becoming a no-go zone for raves and illegal parties, the county's police chief has claimed.

Chief constable Ian McPherson admitted the county was once seen as easy-pickings for those planning underground events - but said a new zero tolerance approach is beginning to pay dividends.

The force's intelligence gathering teams believe word has got out that parties are being stopped before they have the chance to cause damage and upset communities.

The claims seem to be supported on rave organisers' websites which are now warning revellers to go elsewhere. One post on a site this weekend said: “This is getting stupid now. Norfolk needs to be left well alone.”

Mr McPherson promised there would be no let up. He said: “There have been five parties dispersed so far this year and we have seized five sound systems and other paraphernalia.

“It's fair to say that the county has suffered in recent years but this has had a real positive impact. There is more work to be done but we are starting to get our message across.

“From monitoring party websites it is apparent that those on the scene know it's a time to avoid Norfolk.”

The most recent rave happened over the April 12-13 weekend at National Trust-owned Horsey Gap. About 120 people gathered but the site escaped major damage because police shut down the rave before it got into full swing.

The police response was criticised by one of the ravers, a 19-year-old from Norwich, who said it was unnecessary to call out the force helicopter and public order unit to break up the illegal party. Police say their response was in proportion to the number of people attending the rave. Three people were arrested and a large amount of sound equipment was seized.

A special command centre now monitors any possible raves and can call on additional resources including support from police in neighbouring Suffolk to investigate and then disrupt a party if it is under way. The approach is relatively new in Norfolk and it is thought party organisers began targeting the county because of clampdowns in other parts of the country such as Essex, Suffolk and Thames Valley.

It is also thought party organisers would deliberately target the times when police resources were likely to be stretched by other duties.

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