Police have warned that mass gatherings of unlicensed music events – or ‘raves’ – are 'unacceptable, put lives at risk, are seriously antisocial and will not be tolerated'.
Sussex Police say anyone who attends or organises an illegal rave can expect to face 'robust action'.
The tough warning comes after two high profile ‘raves’ recently in Sussex which required a large police response.
One of the events in Steyning was described as one of the largest unplanned operations undertaken by the force in recent years.
Superintendent James Collis said: “We will absolutely not tolerate these illegal and unlicensed events in Sussex, and as demonstrated by the recent events in Steyning and Portslade, we will shut them down, we will seize equipment and we will make arrests.
The police force says in addition to being illegal, the events are also highly dangerous because there is medical help on site and if emergency services are needed, the remote sites and large crowds can delay them reaching those in need.
People often make their own way to the raves. 79 of the 90 arrests made during the event in Steyning were for drink or drug-driving.
Supt Collis added: “I was appalled by the number of people who were prepared to drive to or from the event whilst over the limit for drink or drugs. They made a conscious decision to risk the lives of themselves and others, and they will face the consequences. Thanks to the swift response of our officers to the scene and the surrounding areas, we were able to intercept a large number of suspected drink and drug-drivers, potentially preventing a number of serious or fatal road traffic collisions.
Police say they encourage anyone with information about illegal raves to contact them.
“We are hugely grateful to anyone who has supplied any information or intelligence to us; many illegal raves are prevented due to reports we receive from members of the public, and we urge people remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work with our partners and affected communities in our bid to combat this illegal and irresponsible activity.”
Signs for how to detect and prevent such events from occurring include keeping an eye out for cut fences, pedestrians trespassing and clearly not equipped for a country walk – sometimes in large numbers – cars seemingly lost or left in yards or lanes and trying to access a remote location, or large numbers of cars and vans parking in locations not usually used.