Officers from Dyfed-Powys Police received reports of a possible rave during the early hours of the 29 August 2021, and attended the scene.
Concerned residents of the Grwyney Fawr Valley, near Crickhowell, telephoned police concerned with the increase in traffic on minor country lanes.
Officers attended the area and were faced with large amounts of people travelling to the site which was located within the Natural Resources Wales Forestry at the head of the valley.
Overnight on August 29, an authority under Section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was granted by the duty Superintendent. This allowed Dyfed-Powys Police officers, assisted by Gwent Police colleagues, to set up vehicle check points within a 5 mile radius of the scene in accordance with Section 65 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994.
Safety considerations surrounding breaking up the event were paramount, and due to the hours of darkness, resourcing and an absence of radio signal in the area, a policy of containment and disrupting any further vehicles and people entering was instigated overnight.
The following morning, an assessment was carried out by the senior officer at the scene who entered the site and issued a notice to ‘leave land’ to all present. A certain portion of those attending were hostile to police attendance, directing abuse and threats towards the issuing officers. It is estimated that there were approximately 500 attendees at the rave at its peak, with around 200-300 still present during the late morning of Sunday 29 August. At least 100 vehicles were situated throughout the forestry.
Following a 30-minute ultimatum to switch off the music and leave the site (or face prosecution of a maximum of 3 months in prison or a £2,500 fine), attendees left the site. Police powers also include the power to seize vehicles or sound equipment, if, following a direction under Section 63 (triggered by Section 64) persons fail to remove them.
Following the rave, it was evident that damage was caused to forestry barriers and farmers’ fields and gates by the attendees of the raves.
Police recovered three vehicles, and their keepers were reported for unnecessary obstruction of the highway. In addition, a number of controlled drugs were seized from motor vehicles leaving the site.
Inspector Gwyndaf Bowen said: “Some of those that came to the rave were from as far afield as Essex and London. Social media was used to disclose the location at the last possible minute in order to prevent law enforcement taking preventative measures. We are very grateful to local residents for quickly reporting their concerns and allowing officers to take a practical approach to dealing with it. I thank local Breconshire officers for working significant hours in order to keep the area safe and end the unlawful gathering in a timely and peaceful manner.
“Officers reported there was no sanitary provision at the site and a large amount of litter was evident at the scene. Police received reports of obstructed roads which hindered police and residents’ movements.”
Dyfed-Powys Police have a well-rehearsed strategy for dealing with illegal raves and unlicensed music events, collaborating with surrounding forces, and partners such as Natural Resources Wales, which ensured the safe and peaceful end to this rave.