Ravers party on as police admit they are powerless to pull the plug
From the Leatherhead Advertiser – Apr 18 2002
Copyright: Leatherhead Advertiser
Police say they are powerless to stop a group of 200 revellers who have held two all-night raves in the past fortnight. One took place on Ranmore last weekend while another was held in a field in Coldharbour on Saturday April 6.
Although the group of youngsters meets in locations which are tucked away and so cause minimal noise disturbance from the music, residents are suffering sleepless nights as people come and go until the early hours.
The rave in Coldharbour, held in a field off Wolvens Lane, is said by villagers to have gone on until after 7am the following morning.
Jenny Richards, chairman of Capel parish council, which includes the villages of Coldharbour and Beare Green, said: “It was an absolute disaster for residents. People started walking up through the village to the rave at about 11pm and they didn’t come out again until 6-7am, when there was all the noise of cars and taxis leaving.”
District councillor Neil Maltby (Con, Leith Hill) who lives just outside Coldharbour, said: “It was still going at 7.30am on the Sunday.
“I came home after an evening out at 2am and there were a number of groups still walking up the hill. Driving up there was nerve-wracking.”
Mr Maltby said he counted 28 cars parked in Coldharbour Lane and many more around the Plough pub and in Logmore Lane.
Although police are concerned that the mass gatherings are causing residents anxiety, they cannot close down the raves once they are assembled.
Inspector Sandy Horvarth of Dorking Police explained: “The only offence under the Public Order Act they might be committing is one of trespass. But when they are in woods or a field in the middle of nowhere and aren’t disturbing anyone directly there’s nothing we can do.”
But he insisted that the ravers – mostly aged between 17 and 22 – are cooperative, do not leave a mess and usually negotiate with officers to finish the party at an earlier hour.
“They had a bonfire in Coldharbour because it was cold, so the fire service went up there. But there was no trouble and the crew had a cup of tea with them before putting out the fire safely at about 8am.”
The inspector also stressed that little alcohol has been seen at the events and that there is no indication of any drug abuse.
“But we obviously can’t rule that out,” he admitted.
The rave on Ranmore at the weekend was held after organisers’ plans to gather up at Coldharbour for the second successive week were foiled.
“We sent officers up to Coldharbour so they moved it to Ranmore,” added Mr Horvarth.
“They have 50 or 60 sites in Surrey as well as two websites and they can switch sites at the last minute.
“All it takes is a couple of calls on their mobile phones, and unfortunately we haven’t got the resources to cover all possibilities.”
Mr Horvarth said police are working hard to monitor the websites and pubs which the groups of friends are known to mix at prior to the raves.
“The key to tackling this is by disrupting them,” he continued. “They are not anti-social and are not trying to disturb communities, and the only problem is cars whizzing through all night.”
He explained that police would continue to disrupt the groups, as they did when sending people away from the A25 end of Coldharbour.
“We told them the party was over and wouldn’t let anyone else up there.
“We shall be doing our best to stop the raves happening now the warmer weather is on its way.”