July 24 2014 Latest news:
Russ Lawrence, News Editor
Saturday, March 8, 2014
More than 300 commercial agents and landlords of warehouses and similar properties in the borough have been written to by Newham Council this week asking for help in preventing illegal raves taking place.
It calls on them for support and co-operation in increasing vigilance and security measures around properties in the borough following a recent illegal warehouse rave in Beckton where party-goers were taken ill after taking a bad batch of the party drug MDMA.
The letter states: “For some months now, there has been a pattern in Newham and in other London boroughs, particularly in east London, where raves are being organised in vacant warehouses and retail premises.
“Newham Council is working with the Metropolitan Police to seek to prevent these raves from happening and to take action against the organisers. In the past month we have been successful in preventing several raves from going ahead.”
The council and police can use enforcement and licensing powers to try to stop illegal raves, pay parties or unlicensed music events, before they start. Sound equipment and vehicles can be seized in some circumstances, causing significant financial loss to organisers.
The letter adds: “There has been a pattern of use established where vacant buildings are first occupied by squatters followed by a rave a few days later. In most instances, damage is carried out to the structure of the buildings.
“We’d ask you to report suspicious activity such as flyers advertising raves being posted in an area or on social media; large vans or lorries being driven into factories, industrial units or warehouse spaces that have been empty for some time; groups of people gathering nearby; or people forcing their way into premises.
“In the case of business premises you are responsible for, we also encourage you to help prevent access to land or property by ensuring all boundary fencing or walls and gates are in good repair and fully secured.”
Councillor Unmesh Desai, executive member for crime and anti-social behaviour, said: “It is always easier for the police and the council to try to deal with illegal music events or raves at the earliest opportunity. They can be very difficult to stop once in full swing, so early notification of one taking place is critical. We don’t want events like this making life miserable for local residents or the safety of people attending them being put at risk. Large entertainment events need to be licensed to protect the public. We will continue to take enforcement action against anyone caught breaking the rules.”
Chief Inspector Guy Wade of Newham Police said: “Residents can play a key role in preventing such events and we ask them to assist us by reporting any suspicious activity around large disused buildings or where they suspect a rave is being organised. The sooner we have information, the more chance there is of preventing problems before they start. Public safety is our primary concern. Where we and the council can prevent, disrupt or stop an illegal rave taking place, we will do everything within our power to do so, providing it is in the best interests of all concerned and the circumstances that we are faced with.”
If you have any information that could assist the police in relation to unlicensed music events taking place call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. To contact the council’s enforcement and safety team call 0208 430 2000 or visit www.newham.gov.uk.