- in Environment
Two illegal “quarantine raves” at the weekend were “almost impossible” to stop after venues were changed at the last minute, a chief constable said.
About 6,000 people went to raves at Daisy Nook Country Park, Failsworth, and Carrington, Greater Manchester.
A 20-year-old man died of a suspected drug overdose at the Daisy Nook rave while a woman was raped and three people stabbed in Carrington.
Greater Manchester Police’s Ian Hopkins said some behaviour was “appalling”.
Both events late on Saturday were illegal under coronavirus restrictions but Greater Manchester Police restricted its involvement to what they called “careful monitoring”.
An 18-year-old woman was raped and there were three separate stabbings at the Carrington site – one of which left an 18-year-old man with life-threatening injuries.
The chief constable said: “The location was changed and that made it very difficult [to stop].
“Once these things start it is almost impossible to stop them given the number of people that were there and the number of officers available.
“It would have been very serious situation and many people, including my officers, would have been badly injured I believe.”
He said that was why officers on the ground made the decision not to try to stop the gatherings.
“Some of the behaviour was appalling; some of this was not partying – this was people going out of their way to commit crime,” he added.
Environment ‘Not scared of virus’
A raver at the Daisy Nook park event told BBC 5 Live he went after “listening to guidelines for three months”.
Matt, who did not give his surname, said: “I’ve not been around a group of people in a long time so I thought I might as well this week.
“I just went for a good time.”
When asked about the Covid-19 pandemic, the 22-year-old said: “I’m not really scared of the virus but I don’t know anyone who has had it so I didn’t think of that.”
Under current government guidelines for England, groups of up to six people from different households can gather outside in parks or private gardens.
Paul Carroll, who lives near the Failsworth site, said: “Police were passively driving up and down and occasionally moving people on but when you have 4,000 people and 20 to 30 police it was never going to be enforcement.
“I was still awake at three o’clock in the morning with people sniffing nitrous oxide gas on the garden wall, urinating and taxis coming and going.”
DJ Judge Jules called for nightclubs to be reopened so people can go out in a safe environment.
“The fact is people are going to go out – let’s just get the clubs and the nightlife industry open as soon as its possible because the industry is suffering immensely and the pent up demand is clearly there.”
Kate Green MP for Stretford and Urmston condemned those who attended the two “unsafe and irresponsible” illegal raves saying it brought “huge disruption” to the local community, some serious injuries and was “in complete contravention of social distancing rules”.