Illegal rave organisers across south Lincolnshire say they will continue to be driven underground unless police are prepared to work with them.
They are calling for a meeting with Spalding police inspector Jim Tyner – and the return of seized sound equipment linked to a rave in Sutton Bridge.
Steve Saint, who has been involved in running local events, claims in spite of concern about drink and drugs and “a near fatality at their second party” ravers generally are under-18s who just want somewhere to go.
He said: “Obviously, the police can’t condone the illegal side of things, but after years of these kind of parties occurring surely there should be communication to try and solve some of the issues involved, rather than taking such a hard stance and inevitably making criminals of our younger members of society.”
However, Ins Tyner said: “I’m sure readers will understand that I am never going to agree to Mr Saint’s suggestion to condone raves or turn a blind eye to them. As well as being illegal, they are dangerous.”
Raves are on the increase, especially within rural counties such as Lincolnshire.
Mr Saint said: “What is never shown is the lengths organisers of these parties go through – days of travelling, trying to find old derelict barns and remote fields. Any rubbish is cleared up by the crowds at the end of the party and no harm is done.
“We are trying to police them ourselves and we are also very aware of health and safety and the public nuisance it causes.
“We would like police to advise organisers on how best to do these events, if not legally then at least safely and with as little harm done as possible.“
David Branton, of Cloot House Farm in Crowland, has been targeted twice in the past five years.
He said: “The last rave six months ago started at 10.30pm on the Saturday night and went on until 3pm on the Sunday.
“The people cut gate locks, brought a generator and sound equipment, set up in an open-fronted renovated barn and caused £500 worth of damage to the building.
“When police arrived on the Sunday afternoon they didn’t have enough manpower to deal with it. We were not protected.
“On the Monday morning, when we cleared up after it, we collected 14 bags of unspeakable rubbish.
“How can they think they have the right to break into people’s property and use it without permission?”
Ins Tyner said: “Illegal raves have a significant impact on a rural community like ours and increase the feeling of vulnerability for many of our farmers.
“With this in mind, I’m sure readers will understand that I am never going to agree to Mr Saint’s suggestion to condone raves or turn a blind eye to them. As well as being illegal, they are dangerous.
“We are taking steps to identify and prosecute organisers of illegal raves and have recently seized sound equipment linked to a rave in Sutton Bridge.
“The challenge for us is providing a response to a spontaneous report of a rave, Inevitably these reports are at night, when we do not always have sufficient police numbers to deal with them in the way that we would want to.
“With this in mind, we are speaking with local farmers and identifying vulnerable locations: prevention being the key.
“The wider community also has a part to play in preventing illegal raves: if you know of a person preparing for a rave at the weekend, this can be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers. We have access to county-wide resources if we require them and, with enough notice, I can put plans in place to have sufficient officers to disrupt a rave. Making that call could save a young life.”