Should the police allow 100 people to break the law?

Julian Fane said he was "furious" that a rave took place on his land and nothing was done to stop it.
Julian Fane said he was "furious" that a rave took place on his land and nothing was done to stop it.
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Ex-farmer Julian Fane has quite a lot of experience when it come’s to police policy in dealing with crowds.

In 1986 he was part of a group of 50 demonstrating against plans to dump nuclear waste in his village of Fulbeck. He recalls that despite speaking to police chiefs prior to the protest and informing them that the group would disperse as soon as one police officer requested they do so, some 500 officers arrived in the village at the behest of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Some 27 years on, he has found he is unable get the police to send enough officers to remove 100 people illegally holding a rave on his land.

“With that as the background in my life,” Mr Fane said. “I find this even more irritating.”

A fortnight ago Mr Fane and his wife went to bed only to hear an almighty racket they initially thought was coming from the village hall. When it hadn’t stopped by midnight he decided to go and investigate and found an illegal rave had been started on his land, just off the A17.

When Mr Fane arrived he found police were in attendance but far from stopping people trespassing on his land, found they were patting them down and sending them in.

Mr Fane said: “Nobody was stopped at all. The police more or less said ‘now you can go to the party’. No effort was made to stop them.

“We were trying to get the police to stop people going on the site including one motor car that drove on the land. Andrew Unsworth (who rents the farm land and wood from Mr Fane) stood in front of it for a time but the police said ‘you have got to let him go’.”

By 3am Mr Fane said he could no longer see any police presence on the site and by 4.30am he had decided to return home.

He returned to the site at 8am following a sleepless night to find the deafening music still playing and the rave still going on.

Mr Fane said: “The police instructed me not to go near but I didn’t see any reason why I should not. I got there and there was a man of about 50 with a black bag picking up rubbish.

“I thought he might be the organiser but he pointed me to a chap about 15 yards away. I walked towards him but he fell over before I got there - obviously drunk or under the influence of drugs - so I did not think he was worth talking to as he was lying on the ground, inebriated.

“So I walked over to a man in his early 20s with a red mohican and said “good morning”, as you do on a Sunday morning in Fulbeck, and he was very polite. I told him I hoped they were going to leave fairly soon but he said they were going on until 10am.

“I was not aware at that stage that the police had apparently negotiated with them that they could go on until 10am. If they’d stopped at 9.45am they could have gone to church in Fulbeck.”

Police officers arrived on the scene at 10.15am after a 10am call from Mr Fane and the rave finally ended.

Finally, after losing control of his land for a night, Mr Fane could walk onto his land and survey the damage. A wooden building in the wood had been broken into and a lawn mower and weighing machine removed and thrown to the ground.

A window was smashed and everywhere he looked was evidence of drug use including white powder on tiles torn off a kitchen wall, small gas canisters, balloons and needles.

Mr Fane and the police officers who joined him were also struck by the stench of human faeces at the site as there is no running water in the building.

Mr Fane said: “I think the average man or lady in the street would think it is reasonable that whoever has organised it should come and clear up the mess and come and put the building back in the order it was before they went there.

“If I were the organiser - and I don’t know anything about the finances of running a rave, I’m just a simple ex-farmer who grew food for people to eat - you would assume money changes hands. An entrance fee and presumably a considerable amount from the sale of drugs and alcohol.”

Mr Fane was shocked at the way Lincolnshire Police appeared happy to work with the “ravers” who were illegally on his land, causing criminal damage and taking drugs.

He is now considering demolishing the building to avoid a repeat but is calling for a change of policy from Lincolnshire Police.

He said: “It’s not for Lincolnshire Police to negotiate with people they know are breaking the law.

“They say that except for the noise no criminal offences were going on but quite obviously the drug use was immense.

“I believe that had the first policeman gone in at the start and said ‘you need to turn that off now’ I think they would have gone.

“I would like to see the few of us who were on the site sit down with senior police officers with suggestions from our point of view and their point of view.

“I don’t think it’s in society’s interest that 100 people breaking the law leave the rave with the clear indication the police don’t mind them doing it.”