One foot in the rave: Elderly couple looking for New Year’s Day sale stumble into drug-fuelled warehouse party

12:38 23 January 2013

Dick and Lil Dickens stumbled into the illegal rave in March believing it was a New Year's Day sale.

Dick and Lil Dickens stumbled into the illegal rave in March believing it was a New Year's Day sale.

Archant

AN ELDERLY couple mistakenly stumbled into an illegal warehouse rave... because they thought it was a New Year’s Day sale.

"When we realised that it wasn’t a sale we left. We’re in our 80s so we don’t want to get mixed up in anything like that."

Dick Dickens

Dick and Lil Dickens, from Turves, began 2013 looking for a bargain but ended up chancing upon the aftermath of a New Year’s Eve rave which caused £50,000 damage to a factory in Hostmoor, March.

About 1,000 revellers descended on 63-year-old businessman John Finn’s Thorby Avenue premises, leaving a trail of destruction and evidence of heavy cocaine and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) use.

Dick and Lil, who are both in their 80s, stumbled into the warehouse as the party was winding down – at about lunchtime on New Year’s Day.

“We had been out shopping and we saw all these cars outside,” said Dick. “There was no music or anything like that.

“The cars were parked all over the place. We thought it was a sale. I don’t think we were the only ones as there were several people wandering over to see what was going on.

“We had a look in and that was it. When we realised that it wasn’t a sale we left.

“We’re in our 80s so we don’t want to get mixed up in anything like that.”

Unfortunately for the Dickens’, their brief visit was captured on camera.

Looking somewhat bewildered, the pensioners were snapped alongside ravers in a photo which has since been posted on Facebook.

“Some girl just popped up with a camera and took our picture,” said Dick. “She said ‘right, you’ll be on Facebook now!’”

Police, who did not break up the rave “because it was not practical or safe for officers to disrupt the event”, have since launched a major campaign – Operation Silwood – to prosecute those responsible for holding it.

Officers made the first arrest in connection with the rave last week.

Furious NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay has also been vocal in calling for prosecutions – highlighting the incident during a meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May.

Mrs May said: “This event showed a blatant disregard for the owners of this property who were left to pick up the pieces. It’s essential that those responsible are brought to justice.

“I know the police will do everything they can to bring their investigation to a successful conclusion and welcome the fact they have made it a priority to apprehend the organisers.”

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