Illegal rave found under M6 bridge as drone and helicopter bring event to safe end

We shut down an illegal rave being held under a bridge on the M6, in a major breach of coronavirus laws which was being held dangerously close to a river and motorway.

A member of the public raised the alarm that the event was being planned, with revellers given a muster point before the location of the event would be revealed.

Our officers found the gathering, underneath the bridge at junction 4 on the border of the West Midlands and Warwickshire. They decided not to move in immediately, but to call in support from a drone and helicopter.

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They were worried that those gathered may flee and fall into the river, or try to escape onto the motorway, if large numbers of officers suddenly appeared.

Thermal imaging cameras on our drone spotted around 30 people partying under the bridge, while a police helicopter’s night lights were used to break up the gathering.

The motorway was briefly shut to minimise the risk to people there, and one woman was helped from the river after falling in.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Todd said: “This was an unauthorised event that would have been illegal outside of CoVID-19 legislation – but considering the public health context it’s an even more irresponsible act.

Click here to find out how the coronavirus rules have changed today.

“I’d like to thank the officers who attended what was a very challenging scene, late at night, by a motorway and on the banks of a river, acting with public safety as their priority throughout.

“They made sure everyone was safe by closing the motorway for a short period and even helped one woman from the river. Thankfully no-one was hurt.

“We will be issuing 22 people with fines and will be looking to identify other people who attended the illegal gathering.

“I understand people’s frustrations at having endured a long lockdown but amassing in large numbers like this for an unlicensed event in such a dangerous environment is not acceptable and we have to take action.”

Some of those gathered in the early hours of Saturday fled into the night, officers were positioned nearby as the event broke up we took the details of 22 people to issue them with £200 fines.

One man was found with a suitcase carrying sound equipment, and a van believed to have been used in setting up the event has been seized after getting stuck in the mud.

The man could now face a £10,000 if he’s found to have organised the event.

While social contact rules have eased today, meaning people gather in groups of six, events like this are illegal – and we’ll continue to break them up and fine those involved.

 

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