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Hundreds flock to illegal Easter raves in Exmoor leaving residents ‘trapped in their homes’

Hundreds flocked to multiple illegal raves in Exmoor over the Easter weekend (Photos by Michael Volante New/Facebook)
Hundreds flocked to multiple illegal raves in Exmoor over the Easter weekend (Photos by Michael Volante New/Facebook)

Hundreds attended multiple illegal raves in Exmoor over the Easter weekend, leaving residents “trapped in their homes” and fearing for their safety.

Avon and Somerset Police said the first rave, attended by an estimated 200 people, was discovered by officers at around 5.20am on Sunday near Dunkery Beacon in Somerset.

The force was then alerted about 40 minutes later to another rave nearby, for which several hundred partygoers had descended on Kennisham Wood near Luxborough.

Photos and videos posted on social media showed loudspeakers set up, with thumping music heard in the background (Michael Volante New/Facebook)
Photos and videos posted on social media showed loudspeakers set up, with thumping music heard in the background (Michael Volante New/Facebook)

One eyewitness, who wanted to remain anonymous, told ITV that vans were blasting out music and partygoers were surrounding homes in the area, leaving residents trapped indoors.

They added they had “never seen anything like it before” and expressed concern for people’s safety.

Another person said on Sunday: “Exmoor is sadly not a place for families to visit today. The volume of music is incredibly loud and can be heard for miles and miles.”

Photos and videos posted on social media showed cars lining both sides of a street, vehicles jammed in a car park, and multiple hire vans.

Loudspeakers were set up, with thumping music heard in the background. People were walking around dressed in bunny ears and cartoon rabbit face cut-outs, as they decorated makeshift stages.

One eyewitness said vans were blasting out music and ravers were surrounding homes in the area, leaving residents trapped indoors (Michael Volante New/Facebook)
One eyewitness said vans were blasting out music and ravers were surrounding homes in the area, leaving residents trapped indoors (Michael Volante New/Facebook)

Road closures were put in place while police dealt with the two raves, which were cleared by 11pm.

Sound systems were seized from the Dunkery Beacon event, and police are holding enquiries into potential public nuisance offences.

A man aged in his thirties, from Wiltshire, was arrested at Kennisham Wood on Sunday on suspicion of possession of a Class A drug and assaulting an emergency worker. He has since been released on bail.

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Police told The Independent in an update on Monday afternoon: “We have been responding to two unlicensed music events in the Exmoor area over the weekend.

“Our priority has been to preserve public safety and minimise disruption to other members of the public and as such our officers sought to engage with individuals attending the events and provide community reassurance. Road closures were also put in place.

“Sound equipment was seized from the unlicensed music event near Dunkery Beacon last night and enquiries are ongoing into potential public nuisance offences.

“A small number of people remained in the Kennisham Wood area overnight but the music was turned off by organisers at approximately 11pm following officers’ engagement work. Subsequent efforts to play loud music on site were prevented by officers who told those involved they risked having their equipment seized.

“Those that remained at Kennisham Wood have been clearing up the site this morning. We continued to have officers in the area today to ensure those people left the site safely.”

Exmoor National Park said on Tuesday: “While this is not land owned by Exmoor National Park Authority (as a landowner itself, the Authority owns only around 7 per cent of the area of Exmoor National Park), we have been liaising with police, local councils, the National Trust and Forestry commission over the bank holiday after gatherings at Webbers post and Kennisham caused huge disruption to the area.

“We want to thank all our partners involved in clearing up litter and dealing with several hundred vehicles blocking roads. These were exceptionally difficult events for the police to deal with and we thank local residents for their patience.”