Around 1,500 people, along with an estimated 500 vehicles, attended an illegal rave over the bank holiday weekend in a field at Wytch Farm near Corfe Castle in Dorset.
The event was first reported to police at 10.40 pm on Saturday 27th May 2023, with many residents in Corfe Castle and Wareham waking in the early hours of the following morning to the sound of loud music.
Thrasher’s Lane leading to Wytch Farm was closed by police
Blocked off roads
Dorset Police say they have now taken “control of the site” and turned off the music but are expecting to remain at the location until Monday 29th May 2023.
Since the initial reports of the illegal rave, the police say they had a visible presence at the site and blocked off the country lanes leading to the farmer’s field where the event was taking place.
The road at the Norden roundabout leading to the Purbeck Park car park was closed off by police, along with Thrasher’s Lane off the B3351 New Road.
The turning into Thrasher’s Lane is opposite Rollington Barn where the main Purbeck Art Weeks exhibition is taking place, so with the roads blocked off, some people trying to get to the rave parked at Rollington Barn, ending up at a festival but not the one that they quite expected.
Some of the revellers trying to get to the rave ended up parking at Rollington Barn where the Purbeck Art Weeks exhibition is being held – a banger of an event in its own right
The junction of Thrasher’s Lane with the B3351 is opposite Rollington Barn
“I can now confirm that our officers have control of the site”
At 9.30 pm on Sunday 28th May 2024 assistant chief constable Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, issued an update. He said:
“Understandably, we have continued to receive calls from concerned and upset residents in relation to the noise levels coming from the event. I can now confirm that our officers have control of the site and the music has been turned off.
“I would like to reassure residents that we continue to work with our partner agencies to deal with the site and those who remain, to ensure we bring the event to a safe conclusion.
“We have had officers visibly at the location since the initial reports and officers will remain on the site until the area is clear, which is likely to be overnight and into Monday. I would like to thank those affected by this unlicensed event for their patience.”
Police prevented anyone driving down Thrasher’s Lane and stopped people trying to get to the rave from parking in the Rollington Barn car park
“A criminal investigation has been launched”
Often illegal gatherings of this nature are made difficult for the police to disperse, as many of the people involved have consumed alcohol and illegal drugs and are therefore unfit to drive.
Assistant chief constable Mark Callaghan added:
“Police officers gave a direction for people to leave the scene earlier today using powers under the Public Order Act. However, due to the large-scale nature of the event and the impacts of dispersing those present, as well as minimising any risk to the wider public on our road networks, this can take some time.
“A criminal investigation has been launched to ensure those found to be responsible for organising such events are prosecuted.
“It is our priority that we ensure that unlicensed events such as these are brought to a safe conclusion and there is no further disruption in the local community.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank officers and staff from Dorset Police, as well as officers who have supported from other South West police forces, for their continued professionalism, hard work and public service, many of whom have been kept on duty working extended hours to protect the communities we serve.”
In April 2022 an illegal rave took place at East Lulworth in Dorset
The field in East Lulworth was left strewn with rubbish
Second time in four years at same site
This is the second time recently that an illegal rave has taken place in a field at Wytch Farm. The previous occasion was in April 2019, when the site was left covered with broken glass, human excrement and other rubbish.
In April 2022, an illegal rave took place over the Easter bank holiday weekend at nearby East Lulworth in Dorset. At the time Dorset Police said that they would be investigating any criminal offences and ensure those found to be responsible were prosecuted. It’s believed that no criminal charges were ever brought in relation to that event.