Three people have been arrested after a 500-year-old church in Essex was trashed during an unlicensed New Yar’s Eve rave.
Members of the conservation group that supports All Saints Church in East Horndon – a Grade II listed building – said they are ‘devastated’ by the damage caused and estimate repairs could cost more than £1,000.
Organisers of the event set up a bar and DJ decks inside the church and hired Portaloos for partygoers.
Essex Police said officers had been threatened and had objects thrown at them while trying to engage with those present.
Astrid Gillespie, a volunteer for the Friends of All Saints, said she was ‘just trying to get her head round the news’, having found out via a Facebook post on New Year’s Day.
‘I went up there and the police were still there packing up the equipment that they seized,’ she told the PA news agency.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet criticised those who ‘decided to blatantly flout the coronavirus rules and regulations and, ultimately, they decided that partying was more important than protecting other people,’ after police in Essex broke up an illegal gathering at an abandoned church in Thorndon Park
Police in Essex broke up house parties and raves, including one in an abandoned warehouse in Brentwood on Thursday night
Essex Police issued £18,000 worth of fines and arrested five people after carrying out New Year’s Eve raids across the county overnight
‘There were hundreds of people there, it sounded like it was a ticketed event. It was a professional set-up, they’d hired Portaloos – they’re still there.
‘They had a bar area where you had to exchange tokens, so they must have been selling drinks tokens.
‘There was loads of evidence of drugs and they’ve done damage to the church, obviously it’s a mess and needs to be completely cleaned out.
‘The ground has been all churned up because they must have had vans dropping off all the equipment.’
Ms Gillespie, 48, said a small window had been smashed to put in an extractor fan unit and the sound equipment had been wired into the church’s fuse box.
She added that because of the building’s age and heritage status, the damage was ‘not going to be cheap’ to fix, and that the locks would have to be replaced.
‘The vicar is going to organise a preliminary clean-up but it’s a huge task and we’re estimating £1,000 but it could well be more,’ she said.
‘I love the place, it’s such a beautiful church, and to find out it’s been damaged is devastating, I’m just trying to get my head around it.
‘You wake up in the new year and think ‘new year, new me’ and then you’ve got to deal with all this.’
Police said the crowds at the church were dispersed before midnight and that three arrests had been made.
A 27-year-old man from Harlow was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply class A drugs, a public order offence, and of offences under new coronavirus regulations.
A 22-year-old man from Harlow was arrested on suspicion of a public order offence, possession of cannabis, and of offences under coronavirus regulations.
A 35-year-old man from Southwark was also arrested on suspicion of possession of class A and class B drugs.
While most Brits stayed at home to celebrate the end of 2020, police were handing out hundreds of fines and breaking up illegal raves across the country.
A top police officer has slammed New Year’s Eve revellers who ignored Covid lockdown rules and ‘decided partying was more important than protecting other people’.
Police in Essex alone issued £18,000 worth of fines, breaking up events that included a house party with 100 people attending and a fire dancer performing for crowds.
A woman who organised the event in Sewardstonebury was fined £10,000. Elsewhere in the county officers broke up an illegal rave at an abandoned church in East Horndon and another at a warehouse in Brentwood.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet criticised those who ‘decided to blatantly flout the coronavirus rules and regulations and, ultimately, they decided that partying was more important than protecting other people’.
He added: ‘We’ve seized their equipment, arrested five people, and issued a large number of fines to those who think this behaviour is acceptable.
‘We need you to keep yourselves, other people, and the NHS, safe. Thank you again to everyone who spent their New Year’s Eve in a responsible, legal, way. ‘Stay safe, Essex.’
Met Police issued 217 people with fixed penalty fines and five people could receive £10,000 fines for organising large gatherings across London.
Two men were stabbed and a woman hit around the head with a bottle as violence broke out when up to 70 people squared up to one another in Edgware Road, London, just minutes after midnight.
There were similar raves across the country, as Greater Manchester Police issued 105 fines, compared to 66 in Brighton and Hove.
A woman has been fined £10,000 for organising a house party – complete with a fire dancer as an entertainer – at her home in Sewardstonebury, Essex, last night
Despite strict orders to stay at home, crowds gathered along London’s Southbank to watch this year’s fireworks display. While others attended a nearby protest against lockdown rules
Met Police officers on horseback were dispatched on the banks of the River Thames in order to disperse crowds from London
Hundreds attend raves across Essex as £18,000 worth of fines are handed out
Police in Essex were forced to break-up parties across the county last night after being called to gatherings at an abandoned warehouse, a conservation-run church and a house party with more than 100 people attending.
Police seized equipment from a warehouse rave in Brentwood before dispersing events in Thorndon Park and Sewardstonebury, near Epping Forest, overnight.
Three men were arrested at the party at a church in Thorndon Park on drug offences.
Two people were arrested at the rave in Brentwood. One for failing to provide details, and the other on suspicion of drink driving. A woman was issued a £10,000 fine for organising the house party in Sewardstonebury.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet thanked people for staying home last night, before adding: ‘Unfortunately, there were others who decided to blatantly flout the coronavirus rules and regulations and, ultimately, they decided that partying was more important than protecting other people.
‘We’ve seized their equipment, arrested five people, and issued a large number of fines to those who think this behaviour is acceptable.
‘We need you to keep yourselves, other people, and the NHS, safe. Thank you again to everyone who spent their New Year’s Eve in a responsible, legal, way. ‘Stay safe, Essex.’
In the aftermath of the disturbances on Edgware Road, a photographer working for MailOnline was knocked unconscious while taking pictures near police officers yards from the homes of the rich and famous including Tony Blair and Claudia Winkleman.
As he recovered, he told MailOnline: ‘We got there and there were lots of armed police. Big armed police cars were zooming past us – we counted 11. There must be 100-and-something police there at least, a lot of them heavily armed.’
He said as he worked, a man approached him and punched him.
‘As I hit the floor, six or seven officers rushed to me and then apparently six or seven more caught the guy who did it,’ he said. ‘He was arrested on the scene.’
The experienced photojournalist said he counted around 60 or 70 suspected gang members present on the street after the initial stabbings had taken place.
Police said they were called by colleagues in the London Fire Brigade to reports of a stabbing on Edgware Road.
A spokesman said: ‘Officers attended the scene, with the London Ambulance Service and [the air ambulance]. Two males were identified with stab injuries. Both men were taken to hospital.
‘A woman was also located at the scene suffering with a head injury, she has been taken to hospital.’ He added: ‘One woman has been arrested for GBH and taken to a police station.’
Speaking this morning, Met Police Commander Paul Brogden said: ‘In all, the vast majority of Londoners complied with the Covid regulations that are in place to protect themselves and their loved ones, and we’re grateful to those people. The public are all too aware that Tier 4 restrictions have been put in place to reduce the spread of the virus and to protect the NHS.
‘We did attend a number of calls to parties and unlicensed events across London, including one where two people were stabbed. My colleagues in the local command unit continue to investigate.
‘Our enforcement activity will continue. If people insist on gathering and breaching regulations, then officers will attend and encourage people to disperse. Where necessary, enforcement action, including fines starting at £100 and working their way up to £10,000, will be considered.
‘We are still dealing with the stark reality of fighting a deadly virus. I urge Londoners to continue to keep themselves and their families safe by staying at home.’
Elsewhere in London, dozens of people were found gathering in Chadwell Heath, while another rave was busted at a warehouse in London’s Royal Docks.
Some revellers were determined to party despite the threat of £10,000 fines and repeated warnings about the dangers of spreading the virus.
Police say 60 partygoers were found at an unlicensed music event in Kemp Road, Chadwell Heath, on New Year’s Eve.
Officers dispersed the crowd and handed a £10,000 fine to the organiser of the rave.
Despite police attempts to disperse crowds, revellers were seen laughing and joking as they ushered in the New Year
Police in Newham, East London, were called out to break-up a rave at an abandoned warehouse in London’s Royal Docks last night. Empty bottles and sound systems were left at the scene after police arrived
Revellers could be seen dancing at a house party in Sewardstonebury, Essex, yesterday, with more than 100 people in attendance before police were called
Balloons – potentially used for inhaling nitrous oxide – littered the floor of the abandoned warehouse in East London today
Crowds gathered around the London Eye – despite rising Covid-19 infections and warnings that the country could face a national lockdown this month
Newham Police said that a ‘large unlicensed music event’ was shut down by officers and a number of arrests were made at a warehouse in Royal Docks.
Police in Liverpool managed to prevent a gathering after organisers shared details of the event online.
Merseyside Police introduced a dispersal zone for the Pier Head and areas of Liverpool city centre to stop people gathering last night after a post was circulated on social media encouraging people to meet near the Liver Building to party together.
On the post, organisers said: ‘F*** Tier 3. Liverpool Pier Head tonight.’
Officers in Norfolk spotted another event as scores of youngsters began making their way to the event on Hall Road in the village of Ludham, Norfolk, as the countdown to midnight began.
Generators and other equipment for the music was seized, and motorists were told to avoid the area as police officers dispersed the gathering crowds of ravers and shut down the rave before it could begin.
A Norfolk police spokeswoman said ‘As cases of coronavirus rise across the county, officers will continue to take firm action against these kinds of gatherings, which breach public health regulations, including the use of fines.’
Around 80 people were dispersed from a party at a rural property in Hyndburn, outside Blackburn, with the organiser receiving a £10,000 on the spot fine.
Deputy Chief Constable Terry Woods, of Lancashire Police, described the party as a ‘shocker’.
He tweeted: ‘Home after a very different NYE. Well done @LancsPolice & @NWAmbulance who dealt with a steady stream of incidents after midnight.
‘Some shockers tonight e.g. Hyndburn rural property with about 80 young people there @LancsPolice stopped it & organiser reported for £10k fine.’
Two people were taken to hospital with stab wounds after two gangs allegedly clashed on Edgware Road, central London, just after midnight on New Year’s Day
Dozens of people are said to have lined the streets in Edgware Road early on Friday morning amid reports of an illegal rave
Metropolitan Police said they were called to the scene in West London by the London Fire Brigade after reports of a stabbing
The banks of the River Thames would usually be packed for the New Year’s Eve fireworks display, instead police were forced disperse revellers last night amid Covid-19 restrictions
Police officers were seen confiscating champagne and glasses from some revellers who had gathered in the capital yesterday
Revellers were out in London throughout last night, with officers, including some on horseback, ready to deal with anyone flouting lockdown rules
Three people were injured in Edgware Road as police, joined by paramedics and firefighters, responded to a night of violence
In Nottingham, small crowds gathered in Market Square as clocks struck midnight. The city is currently under Tier 4 measures
While signs warned Nottingham visitors to enjoy a ‘safe’ Christmas, crowds gathered to mark the end of 2021. Those living under Tier 4 restrictions are expected to stay at home except for essential journeys
Fines handed out in Brighton were among 81 fixed penalty notices issued by Sussex Police between 6pm on Thursday and 3am on Friday.
The fines ranged from outdoor gatherings of groups in public spaces, to private parties and people travelling from outside the area into the county.
Several were issued to groups gathering on Brighton beach in breach of the restrictions, although there was no large-scale event on the seafront, police said.
Five tickets were issued to a group stopped in a car from London who claimed they were in Brighton to collect a takeaway.
There were revellers out in Kensington, West London, last night, as two people were spotted stopping for a selfie on their way out for New Year’s Eve
Pubs may be shut in Leeds, but young people were ready to head out to the shops to make sure they were stocked up to see the back of 2020
Revellers in Nottingham ushered in the New Year with a glass of prosecco in the city’s Market Square, despite Tier 4 restrictions
Metropolitan Police descended on a property in Kensington last night after an alleged illegal party was said to have taken place
London was placed under Tier 4 measures on December 20, but revellers were seen out and about across the capital last night, including in Kensington
Four police vans were called out to a home in Kensington overnight on a busy night for officers across the capital, which saw protests and illegal raves take place
There was violence in Edgware Road, London overnight, with blood stains still visible on the street in the early hours of this morning
It is alleged that an illegal rave was taking place in a building on Edgware Road and that as many as 70 alleged gang members had spilled out onto the street
A woman was also found at the scene by emergency services suffering from a head injury, while a second woman was arrested on suspicion of GBH
While there were scenes of violence in London, crowds were seen gathering in Nottingham Market Square last night
People in Nottingham were seen smoking and laughing, while some chose to wear masks in the final hours of 2020
Despite dozens of people gathering in Nottingham, just one police car could be seen monitoring activity around Market Square
The entrance to luxury apartments on Edgware Road was cordoned off this morning after dozens of people lined the street
Forensic officers were out checking bins on Edgware Road after two men were stabbed and a woman suffered head injuries
Witnesses in Edgware Road last night reported seeing up to 70 people gathered in the street before three people were injured
Police were called out to Edgware Road around 00.32am this morning after reports of a stabbing, with parts of the street cordoned off during investigations
London Ambulance Service paramedics rushed two men and one woman to hospital after they suffered stab wounds and a head injury in Edgware Road
Piers Corbyn, the anti-lockdown activist brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, railed against the restrictions on a march along London’s Southbank.
Pictures show the 73-year-old being held back by supporters as he faces down officers during the protest.
Dozens of people congregated outside County Hall, where Mr Corbyn addressed the demonstration through a megaphone.
Meanwhile others pressed ahead with party plans and flouted rules by toasting in 2021 with a large group of friends.
Crowds were seen gathering on the Southbank, near the London Eye, to catch a glimpse of last night’s fireworks display.
Witnesses saw police confiscating alcohol as people looked to celebrate the end of the year.
Leeds remains in Tier 3, but revellers were still seen gathering last night in Headling to celebrate the final hours of 2020
Groups of young men were seen gathering on the streets of Leeds last night as the city remained in Tier 3 lockdown meaures
In Leeds, some braved the cold weather and were pictured on the streets clutching bottles of wine and crates of beer
It was a heavy night of celebration for some revellers out in Leeds on Thursday, as they saw an end to 2020
Piers Corbyn was hugged by a fellow lockdown protester on the banks of the River Thames last night, as other drank to celebrate the New Year
A photographer working for MailOnline, who was knocked out by a man while taking pictures of the incident, claims that hundreds of officers were dealing with the incident, ‘a lot of them heavily armed’
Most public places typically brimming with crowds lay eerily deserted – and usual hotspots such as Trafalgar Square were even boarded up to prevent people congregating.
But in Leeds, some braved the cold weather and were pictured on the streets clutching bottles of wine and crates of beer.
On London’s Southbank, police were forced to deal with an anti-lockdown protest attended by the likes of Piers Corbyn, the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Police officers detain a man at the anti-lockdown protest on the South Bank, London, during the night
Pictures show 73-year-old Piers Corbyn being held back by supporters as he faces down officers during the protest on London’s Southbank
Piers Corbyn (pictured middle), the anti-lockdown activist brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, railed against restrictions during a march along the River Thames last night
Dozens of people congregated outside County Hall, where Mr Corbyn addressed the demonstration through a megaphone
Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy, speaks to a crowd at an anti-lockdown protest in the capital overnight
Police on horses were seen patrolling the streets of London during the night to ensure people followed Tier 4 rules
Ahead of last night, police chiefs warned they would be prepared to take action against rule-breakers.
Scotland Yard tweeted: ‘We are at a critical point in this pandemic. We would urge everyone to celebrate the New Year in the comfort of their own homes. If people insist on gathering and breaching regulations, then officers will shut them down and enforcement action will be taken.’
The maximum fine for breaking coronavirus restrictions is £10,000 for the most egregious breaches.