Crackdown on illegal raves

Evidence of an illegal rave in Leytonstone
Evidence of an illegal rave in Leytonstone

Report by Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter

Waltham Forest Council is clamping down on illegal raves after separate events in Leyton and Leytonstone breached Covid-19 rules.

Police discovered around 300 people at a party inside a commercial unit in Joseph Ray Road, Leytonstone, on Saturday 21st November. The warehouse had been broken into without the knowledge of its owners and London Fire Brigade were called to force open the locked doors.

The council’s anti-social behaviour team subsequently applied for a closure order in the hopes of preventing any more events taking place inside. This has now been granted by a court and will last for three months.

Separately, a rave organiser who threw a party for up to 200 people in Argyll Avenue, Leyton, was fined £10,000 on Wednesday 25th November. Abhishek Beltharia, of Thornton Heath in Croydon, organised a rave back in August and, when officers visited the venue again in September, appeared to be planning another. They found evidence including a fully-stocked bar, DJ equipment and lighting.

Deputy council leader Clyde Loakes said: “This is a stellar example of joint partnership work between enforcement and police officers to stop a mass illegal gathering.

“I want to thank residents and businesses who are working so hard to follow regulations but I want to underline – as this fixed penalty notice shows – that there will be serious consequences for anyone who flouts the rule in the face of this global pandemic and endangers public health.”

Detective Chief Inspector John Arnold said that, while Covid19 “continues to test public resolve and police resourcing” police were determined to “tackle non-compliance”.