May 23 2013 Latest news:
By John Elworthy , The Editor
Monday, January 7, 2013
POLICE confirmed today the launch of a major campaign- Operation Silwood- to arrest and charge those responsible for the New Year’s Eve illegal rave in March.
Detective Inspector Dave Murphy, Fenland crime manager, said his team had spent much of the weekend liaising with factory owner John Finn whose premises were broken into for the rave. An estimated £50,000 damage was caused.
“This investigation is being prioritised by Fenland police district,” said Det Insp Murphy.
“We have taken possession of images taken by Mr Finn on the night; they depict persons attending the rave location but not offenders/suspects causing damage.”
He added that “we have some significant leads to in relation to the organisers which we are actively pursuing as we speak. We are also reviewing CCTV and forensic opportunities.”
His comments follow a visit to the factory by MP Steve Barclay who will be meeting Home Secretary Theresa May tomorrow to discuss the police response to the rave at Thorby Avenue.
Mr Barclay, the MP for NE Cambs said he welcomed the attempts by police to “disrupt the illegal rave in March, including successfully confiscating equipment which prevented music from being played until midnight.”
He said: “It is also right that the safety of police officers came first in reaching a judgement on whether to stop the rave when confronted with such overwhelming numbers.
“It is for this reason that identifying and prosecuting those involved is of paramount importance now.
“People need to be brought to justice for the wanton damage they caused which I saw first hand when visiting the site in the aftermath of the rave. “Without prosecutions, I fear the rave organisers will back to target other local businesses.’
A Cambs police spokesman said: “The primary reason for not breaking up the rave was one of public safety, with more than 500 people attending and it was not practical or safe for officers to disrupt the event.
“However there was a police presence throughout the night, we seized musical equipment and remained in constant contact with the owner of the building.”
Earlier today Mr Barclay, the MP for NE Cambs, released a set of photographs of those attending the rave and taken by Mr Finn.
The police spokesman said: “We have received copies of these images but at this stage they merely show images of young people attending an event, many of whom thought it was a legitimate event.
“None of these images show anyone committing a criminal offence and they are therefore not being treated as suspects or offenders. We would therefore not put them into the public domain ourselves.”
A Fenland Council spokesman said: “As soon as we heard about the rave and the mess that had been left, we sent our Rapid Response team down there.
“We cleared up all we could - in other words, everything scattered on the public highway and nearby paths. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go on the land where the rave actually took place because that is private property.
““We spent about half an hour picking up litter and bottles and other mess. We were able to act very promptly - that is part and parcel of the Rapid Response service - but it’s a shame it was necessary. “Many people would think our hard-pressed staff have better things to do than spend time and resources on clearing up after this sort of senseless, destructive behaviour.”
Det Sgt Matt Swash of Cambs Police confirmed police attended but did not intervene to try and stop the rave.
“We have to be careful and risk assess every incident,” he said.
He said that “sending police officers into that event at that time would have caused safety issues and possible harm to persons present.”
By lunchtime on New Year’s Day 500 or so revellers still remained but at its peak 1,000 are thought to have attended.