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Police warn 'do not go to illegal raves and risk your lives'

Staffordshire Police are warning people not to attend illegal raves.

It follows an illegal rave near to Lichfield last weekend, where approximately 1,000 people turned up.

The force has released a statement saying it is aware that there are possible further illegal raves being organised, and has set up an operation to deal with them.

The statement also said: "Those attending an illegal rave face the prospect of arrest if they don’t comply with a direction to leave. Anyone who is found organising these kind of events will be dealt with robustly and may be prosecuted. They are utterly unacceptable and we will do all we can to stop them from happening.

"People are urged to keep in mind the virus is still a major threat and we all have a role to play in helping to prevent the spread of this virus and the risks to our family and friends.

"Staffordshire Police is liaising with West Midlands Police and working alongside key partners to broaden our intelligence picture to identify and determine where events may take place."

Chief Superintendent Carl Ratcliffe, head of contact and response for Staffordshire Police, said: “I would also like to send a really clear message to organisers of illegal raves – we will deal with you robustly and you may be prosecuted.

"Please seriously consider the risks and understand that as organisers, it is your responsibility to keep people safe. There are often young teenagers in attendance, who are putting their lives in your hands. So please, I would ask people to think beforehand and ask yourself if it’s worth it.

“Last weekend (Saturday 13 June) we saw an illegal rave taking place near to Lichfield, with around 1,000 in attendance. Clearly, this was a breach of the current Coronavirus regulations and puts everyone at risk.

“We want to warn young people of the significant risks posed by such events and keep our communities safe. To those thinking about attending such events - you could face enforcement action and receive a criminal record. Do not go to illegal raves and risk your lives.

“A top priority for us will always be the safety of our communities and we will continue to strike the balance of proportionality and wider public safety with our overall response to incidents such as these. Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, we can intervene in incidents and prosecute anyone who has taken part in any illegal activity – whether that be drug supply or public disorder and any violence.

“Finally, we’re calling on the public to help us – if you have any intelligence or hear about an event taking place, please get in touch with us so we can prevent it and ultimately save lives. The key to stopping these events is early intelligence.”

If you suspect a rave/illegal gathering is being set up or there is suspicious activity, contact Staffordshire Police via Facebook or Twitter, call 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. The information available using @what3words or @ordnancesurvey will help officers to pinpoint the location.

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