Rave organiser is fined
by This is Brigthon and Hove
Copyright: This is Brigthon and Hove
The organiser of an illegal all-night rave claimed he believed police gave him permission to stage the event, a court heard.
Craig Shepherd, 24, of Shanklin Road, Brighton, admitted organising the unlicensed entertainment and was fined £500 by Brighton Magistrates Court. Shepherd, an unemployed teacher of English to foreign students, was also ordered to pay £70 costs.
The court heard about 1,000 people gathered for the free dance party in a field in Woodingdean, near Brighton, on the night of May 13. It lasted from 1am until 10.30am. Police attended the site, on open farmland near Bexhill Road and Falmer Road, in the early hours and Shepherd was arrested at about 8am.
Theresa Blades, defending, claimed Shepherd believed he had been given police permission to hold the rave. She said he originally planned to hold the event at Shoreham Beach and about eight people attended when the police turned up at 10.30pm. When the officers indicated they were not happy, Shepherd said he would rather be in the countryside but he was concerned about foot-and-mouth disease.
Ms Blades said: “The police made it clear they did not want him to be on the seafront and indicated if he went out in the countryside he would not have a problem. “If he had been told he should not have a party that night he would not have. He felt he had been unofficially told he could move into the countryside.
“He went to an area he felt would not disturb residents and there were no complaints of noise. “This was a free outdoor party. It is very much part of the ethos and spirit that it was free. He feels strongly that people in Brighton have to pay a lot of money to go out to clubs owned by big businesses.”
There were donations of £150 which covered the cost of hiring sound equipment. Ms Blades said he took his responsibilities as an organiser seriously and had ensured there was someone attending with first aid and fire safety knowledge. She said all rubbish was cleared away.
The court heard Shepherd should have applied to Brighton and Hove City Council for a public entertainment licence, which would have specified health and safety regulations.