Drones and dogs to be used by police as raves planned across Black Country and Staffordshire
Drones and police dogs will be used to stop people attending illegal raves planned across the Black Country and Staffordshire, police have said.
A rave has been planned in a remote part of the Black Country this weekend according to West Midlands Police, while Staffordshire Police has warned of further parties being planned across its patch.
Last weekend around 1,000 people went to a rave near Lichfield while a man died of a suspected drugs overdose at one of two major parties held in the Greater Manchester area.
Gatherings of more than six people from separate households remain illegal under the coronavirus lockdown laws.
The stabbed man had attended a gathering of around 4,000 people in Oldham while at nearby Carrington there were reports of three separate stabbings at another 2,000-strong party, including one which left an 18-year-old man with life-threatening injuries.
Police said they are also investigating the rape of an 18-year-old woman who attended the Carrington event.
WATCH: Police help man stabbed at Manchester rave
West Midlands Police has now warned party-goers that anyone caught at an illegal gathering risks being arrested and prosecuted.
The force said it had learnt an event was being planned for a remote site in the Black Country on the force's border with Staffordshire Police.
West Midlands Police Superintendent Nick Rowe said: “Events like this are illegal. They are unacceptable at any time but even more so during a pandemic in which large gatherings are banned to help stop the spread of a killer virus.
“We are taking steps to deploy significant extra resources, including our drone and dogs units, to ensure public safety and minimise the risk of any anti-social behaviour, noise pollution and crime that can result from these type of unlicensed events.
“We are sending a strong warning to those thinking about attending such events – you could face enforcement action and receive a criminal record.
“Anyone who is found organising these kind of events also faces the prospect of us seizing equipment and prosecution.
“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.”
Dedicated operation in Staffordshire
Officers were spat at when they arrived to shut down the party near Lichfield last week and traffic had to be slowed on the nearby A38 as a safety precaution.
Staffordshire Police said a dedicated operation would be in place this weekend, with a much higher police presence in potential hot spot areas.
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.”
Supt Rowe added: “There are no safety measures in place at these unauthorised events. If anything goes wrong and you, or your son or daughter, are attending, the emergency services might not be able to help you as quickly as normal.
“The illegal rave in Manchester not only ended in one man dead, but another stabbed and there was a report of a serious sexual offence against a woman. These are not safe events and parents should be actively deterring their children from attending.
“Everyone needs to act responsibly to keep our communities safe.”