Police move in to stop illegal rave at Eartham Wood

An illegal rave which took place at Eartham Wood has angered residents, but the district council has vowed to work with police to prevent such events from happening in the future.

Brian Wernham, of Gill Way, Selsey, was taking a stroll through Eartham when he heard music coming from a nearby rave. Another much larger-scale rave which attracted more than 2,000 people had also taken place the evening before at Houghton Wood, north of Arundel.

Mr Wernham said: “When we were walking through Eartham we just heard ‘thud, thud’. I don’t want to be a spoilsport, but the rave left behind an absolute mess. The police have been very good. They are in a difficult position.”

Mr Wernham contacted police after the rave on Easter Sunday.

The district council and Sussex Police work with local landowners and the Forestry Commission to try to prevent raves from occurring.

A district council spokeswoman said: “The council was not aware that a rave was due to take place in Eartham Wood and was not contacted while it was taking place. However, the police have clarified that its officers did attend and asked the small number of people that had assembled to move on.

“The sound system was dismantled and the group left peacefully and the site was clear just after 5pm. Early notification of a rave can enable the police and council to react quickly to prevent it from becoming established.”

Raves are unlicensed, illegal parties often held on land which is not owned by the organisers.

Superintendent Grenville Wilson from Sussex Police’s operations department said: “Where we can we will attend a report of a rave at the earliest opportunity to try to bring it to a safe conclusion. When a large number of people are already at the site it is not always possible for us to shut down the rave with the police resources available at that time.

“We would urge landowners and residents to contact police as soon as possible if they suspect a rave is being organised in the area.”

Anyone who would like to report an incident can do so by calling Sussex Police on 101 or 999 if the incident is currently taking place.