POLICE are urging members of the public from across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys to help them prevent illegal raves from setting up in their communities.
As part of the operation, called #OpFlamenco, people living in rural communities, including farmers and landowners, are being asked to report anything suspicious to Dyfed-Powys Police.
The information would help police respond swiftly as illegal raves arise and hopefully prevent them from happening or at the very least allow police to respond before they become established.
Superintendent Jon Cummins, Head of Specialist Operations for Dyfed-Powys Police, said:
“Raves can cause anxiety to the communities they are held in, and if not dealt with swiftly are difficult to stop due to the sheer numbers of people involved.
“These illegal gatherings also cause real concerns for emergency services as people attending take risks they wouldn’t usually. We deal with issues like drink, drug and drowsy driving – which all increase the risk of a crash – and people taking illegal substances and drinking to excess. There is rarely any medical cover, leaving people at risk of serious illness when things go wrong.
“There is also a safety concern involved for the officers that come in to break up events.
“As a force, we take action as soon as we gather intelligence of an event being planned. We will continue to respond swiftly to reports of illegal gatherings, and where appropriate will prosecute those responsible in order to protect our communities.
“However, these types of illegal events are carefully coordinated to avoid police attention, and organisers will always try to find new ways to avoid being found out.
“We rely on the support of communities to report any suspicious activity immediately, so action can be taken to disrupt illegal gatherings swiftly.
“I would encourage farmers, landowners and local communities to report anything they feel is suspicious or out of the ordinary by calling 101 or emailing email@example.com.”
Over the past two years, Natural Resources Wales has spent over £10,000 of public money clearing up the mess left behind from illegal raves. This has included litter, abandoned vehicles, drug paraphernalia and human waste.
Dai Rees, Land Management Team Leader from Natural Resources Wales said:
“Last year’s illegal rave at Brechfa Forest not only caused distress to local people but also required considerable time and money to clean up afterwards.
“We’ve since taken measures to try and prevent this from happening again, by installing lockable barriers at several access points into the forest. We’re also increasing our visits to the forest in the lead up to weekends, making it harder for people to set these raves up.
“We continue to work closely with Dyfed Powys Police and the local community to stop illegal raves from taking place in our forestry. We strongly urge anyone who is concerned about any suspicious activity in their local forest to report it to the Police using the 101 number, or 999 if it’s an emergency.”
Know the signs:
There are certain types of suspicious behaviour that are worth being aware of. If you see or experience any of these please call us on 101.
- Unusual numbers of vehicles, especially camper vans, vans or trucks, seen in the locality.
- Illegal trespassers may recce sites in advance of any rave
- People may approach landowners and ask around for land, in the guise of hiring it for acceptable activities such as gymkhanas or scout camps.
- If you suspect anyone who approaches you for land hire might not be who they say they are, please do not hesitate to contact police.
- Social networks make it easier for organisers to spread the word – rave attendance numbers can grow hugely in short spaces of time, and locations can change quickly.