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Five people were arrested and 12 given fines as police shut down an unlicensed music event in North Weald which was in breach of the Government’s COVID-19 regulations.
Police had received intelligence about an event and put in place a dispersal order covering parts of Epping, Theydon Bois, Thornwood, North Weald Bassett, and Epping Green.
Officers attended a location in High Road at around 11pm on Saturday November 21) following reports of a large number of people there.
They found an unlicensed music event taking place in an abandoned farm building and took action to break it up and disperse those there.
Five men aged between 19 and 27 from Kent and London – were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Coronavirus Act, 12 others were fined, and sound equipment and a generator was seized.
The event was shut down by the early hours of Sunday morning and officers stayed in the area to maintain a visible presence and deter people from coming back.
Superintendent Richard Melton said: “This was a clear and blatant breach of the Government’s COVID-19 regulations and posed a risk to the health of those attending through the spread of the virus.
“As well as the risk of spreading COVID-19, going to unlicensed music events risks your welfare through the drug taking and violence we know takes place and you could be targeted by criminals we know go to them.
“Our approach has always been to engage with people, explain the regulations, and encourage them to do the right thing.
“If that’s not successful, and it’s necessary and appropriate to do so, we’ll then take enforcement action.
“I appreciate these are challenging times for everyone but we all have a personal responsibility to keep each other safe.
“Where our officers have attend and deal with blatant breaches like this, it takes them away from being able to tackle other issues and affects our ability to respond to other incidents.
“Most people in Essex continue to do the right thing and I want to thank you for that. Following the regulations means we can do what we do best – help people, keep people safe, and catch criminals.”