Warning over illegal raves as pubs prepare to reopen

Young people in Staffordshire have been warned against attending "unlawful" raves, as police chiefs stressed the reopening of pubs does not mean the lockdown is over.

The mess left behind after a rave in Manchester
The mess left behind after a rave in Manchester

Senior officers have been attempting to crack down on the raves, which have seen hundreds of people gather, despite social distancing rules.

Extra police will be on the streets across Staffordshire this weekend as pubs reopen their doors for the first time in more than three months.

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Chief Superintendent Steve Graham, of West Midlands Police, said the raves were particularly concerning as they bring a large number of people together in an unlicensed environment. The force has been working with colleagues in Staffordshire to try and crack down on the raves.

He said: "If people are going to a pub or bar they are going to a licensed premises and it is secure there. These are unlicensed and there is no regulation.

"People are saying they want to go out and have a good time but this is something that is unlawful and dangerous. We are trying to discourage people from gathering at these raves in parks and places like that.

"It is increasing the risk of spreading the virus. Lot of young people are saying 'I haven't got the virus' but some people have no symptoms so if they haven't been tested they don't know."

Chief Superintendent Graham stressed that pubs reopening did not mean that life was back to normal.

He said: "I hope it isn't the case that because they have opened pubs it's as if you were in February. I would emphasise to people lockdown hasn't been completely lifted and we are not back to the good old days."

Superintendent Tom Chisholm, Staffordshire Police's head of neighbourhood, said: "We understand that people will want to be out enjoying themselves after being unable to do so for so long and we want people to have a good evening, but what we don’t want is people drinking too much or getting into fights or injuring themselves and then putting pressure on A&E departments.

"We also need to remember that coronavirus is still a serious risk and people need to be sensible and continue to follow the Government’s guidance, including social distancing and increased hygiene measures."

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