Rave causes £150,000 damage
By This is London – Monday October 28, 2002
Copyright: This is London
As the parent company of non-stop music channel MTV, Viacom Europe is more tolerant than most to loud noise and outrageous behaviour.
But even the executives of Viacom were rattled when a 24-hour rave was held in one of their buildings in Camden. And they were shocked when police seemingly turned a blind eye to the illegal event.
Dwight Tierney, vice-president of Viacom Europe, said: “To say we were stunned by the police reaction is an understatement. Damage estimated at Â£150,000 was caused to our premises but the police stood by and did nothing.
“We are outraged at the behaviour of the police officials and are appalled at the excuses.”
Viacom’s troubles came to a head when hundreds of ravers poured into the former headquarters of the company’s advertising arm, Viacom Outdoor, in Jamestown Road.
Security staff in their new building nearby alerted the police, who said they would not attend.
More phone calls eventually prompted a lone police officer to investigate but he said there was nothing that could be done.
Mr Tierney said: “We were astonished by the reaction. The police tried to suggest it was simply a noise issue but we pointed out that our office had been broken into, criminal damage was taking place and equipment was being stolen.
“The police fiddled while we, figuratively speaking, were burning. They said they had higher priorities to deal with and just left us to it.”
Environmental health officers from Camden council said they had the power to shut down the rave because of the noise but could only act with police support.
Again, Mr Tierney says, the police refused to intervene.
Viacom staff only managed to regain control of the building when the rave petered out, almost 24 hours after it began.
Mr Tierney said: “The scene afterwards was horrible. Partitions and ceilings had been destroyed, carpets ripped up, equipment stolen, graffiti scrawled on the walls and the building used as a toilet. It was an atrocious sight.
“We had been hoping to let out the building to another company but that’s no longer possible. When we comto the police they refused to apologise and said if they were faced with the same circumstances again, they would react in the same way. We made dozens of phone calls but were fobbed off with excuse after excuse.”
Mr Tierney said the company, which employs 500 people in Camden, was now considering its future in the area. MTV Europe, whose presenters include Cat Deeley and Lisa Snowdon, took over its Camden headquarters in 1993. Mr
Tierney added: “This rave is the culmination of a series of problems we have encountered. We have seen and experienced increasing violence, theft, intimidation and illegal drug activity around our offices, while in June there was a drive-by shooting directly opposite our building.”
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said they were only made aware of the rave, which took place earlier this month, once it was under way.
He added: “Every inciplained-dent of this type is dealt with on an individual basis. Although the majority are broken up and the people dispersed, on this occasion it was felt there would be fewer policing problems if we monitored the rave rather than closed it down.”
Scotland Yard named Camden as one of London’s hot-spots for gun crime involving drug-dealing gangs in a report last year.