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Eight illegal raves have been broken up by Sussex Police since the start of lockdown.

Three of them took place in Brighton, while others were discovered in Hastings, Lewes, Plumpton, Petersfield, and Friston Forest.

But despite hundreds of people attending some of the raves, police confirmed only one person was arrested, according to data obtained from a Freedom of Information request.

Officers have also yet to fine anyone involved, despite being given new powers to hand out fixed penalties of £200 to people flouting Covid-19 rules, which double for every subsequent offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

However, equipment including speakers, a generator, a woofer and an amp was seized from the illegal rave in Friston Forest as the organiser fled the scene.

The news comes as Sussex goes into the Tier 2 restrictions today – the second highest alert level in place for areas with “higher or rapidly rising infections”.

Police say they are monitoring social media and working with landowners to try and reduce the risk of illegal raves taking place and extra resources will be deployed where necessary.

“They are often organised through other means, particularly simple word of mouth and that is why we need local people to be alert to the possibility and signs of a rave taking place in their area,” said a spokesperson.

“Although there are powers available to the police to close down illegal gatherings such as this, before exercising these powers an assessment has to be undertaken to determine whether or not such a gathering can be closed down safely and effectively.

“This includes consideration of the timing of the event and the layout of the land.”

Reacting to the figures, former Hastings resident Chris Dabbs said he could not believe some people were being so irresponsible during a national lockdown.

“I’d also like to go out and have fun but I’m doing the responsible thing by sticking to the rules,” said the 53-year-old, who now lives in St Lawrence Mews, Eastbourne.

“Why can’t they?

“They’re just acting like irresponsible children with no regard of the potential consequences of their actions.

“They would soon be sorry if they brought the virus home to one of their family members.”

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May 2024