Woman in hospital after taking E pill
by J. Barnes and S. Asplin – October 29, 2001
Copyright: J. Barnes and S. Asplin
Detectives launched a hunt last night to find the supplier of an Ecstasy tablet that left a woman in hospital after an illegal rave. The female reveller, who has not been named, was being treated in Ipswich Hospital last night after taking a pill at Saturday night’s event, which attracted 1,500 to a disused warehouse in the town. The hunt came as an East Anglian MP pledged to look into whether the law could be changed to stop rave groups being able to set up events in private property without risk of prosecution.
Suffolk police said the event’s organisers had broken into the building – formerly the Wallace Kings Home City premises at Orwell Retail Park in Ranelagh Road – and set up the rave at about 11pm. They added the event continued past dawn the following day and a woman had to be taken to hospital after taking the Ecstasy tablet, but her condition was described last night as not life-threatening.
A 21-year-old man was also taken to hospital with suspected alcohol poisoning, while a 25-year-old man had his face slashed, but refused medical treatment. Ivan Henderson, the Labour MP for Harwich and a private secretary to Home Office ministers Keith Bradley and Beverley Hughes, said he would be pushing for legislation to stop illegal raves.
“If someone owns land and they have not got the means to keep people off it, then something needs to be done,” he added. “The Government should look at the changing the legislation to protect them and stop these things going on. It is not good enough that they don’t cause any damage – they should ask permission from the landowner first. This is something I will be taking up.”
The rave was staged by Colchester-based Pulse8 and one of the organisers, who would only give his name as Matt, said MPs should be trying to persuade local authorities to show raves more support. “They should be trying to persuade councillors to look to providing us with venues so we can stage events like this,” he added.
“At the moment we are just being pushed into expensive clubs. It’s not bad to have fun. People don’t want to go home at 2am – what’s wrong with partying until 6am?” Matt said by providing a permanent venue, Pulse8 would be able to work with the emergency services, local authorities and other rave groups to ensure premises were safe and events were run with less disruption to residents or businesses. He added every venue picked for a rave was inspected and people with fire and medical experience were on hand throughout the event.
“Every venue we use is left open – we do not break in – so if property is left open, it’s a potential target as we do not have legitimate premises. There will be some noise, but for about seven hours for one night, I don’t think that’s really much hardship. “We cannot obviously pre-warn the emergency services, so we do the best we can, we will call an ambulance if we cannot deal with it,” said Matt. But he admitted ravers were not searched for drugs as that was considered a “blatant invasion of privacy”.
Matt added: “A lot of people in the world take drugs and a lot of these people may or may not come to a party. You may go out to a pub and enjoy a beer, but you don’t know if the person you are with has a habit or addiction.” In July, 300 people held a rave on land belonging to Stebbing farmer Tony Lanyon, but Essex Police said they were powerless to act as the revellers had not committed a criminal offence, only the civil offence of trespass. Mr Lanyon, who called the situation “ridiculous” and a “total invasion of privacy”, has written to the Home Office to try to get legislation changed.
A spokeswoman for Essex Police said there was probably about one big rave a month in the county, often sited in the Braintree area. “Our hands are tied because trespass is a civil not a criminal issue. What we try to do is beat them to the location or ring round owners in a certain location and warn them to protect their property. But even if we can turn them away, they will just go on somewhere else,” she added.