‘Complete chaos’: the ‘surreal’ moment thousands of revellers descended on illegal rave in Sussex

Locals are counting the cost after thousands of party-goers descended on Sussex for a rave.

Monday, 28th June 2021, 3:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:43 pm

Police swooped on around 2,000 ravers who were attending the event near Bostal Road, Steyning, on Sunday morning.

More than 50 people were arrested on suspicion of offences including drink and drug-driving, possession of drugs and theft, and have been taken into custody, police said. Shutting down the rave was one of the largest, unplanned operations Sussex Police has experienced in recent years.

And now locals are left facing bills to fix the damage caused by revellers.

A clean up operation has begun after thousands of ravers descended on an illegal party in Steyning

Horsham District Councillor James Wright, who has been helping with the cleanup, said: “There were so many police cars.

“It was a completely surreal moment of sirens, South Downs countryside and complete chaos. It was a bizarre moment.”

James, who is the councillor for Storrington and Washington, said he had to help a farmer find a herd of cows terrified by the partying crowds.

He added: “I spent Sunday afternoon helping him find them, Thankfully we got them all back.

A clean up operation has begun after thousands of ravers descended on an illegal party in Steyning

“There was this surreal moment when we were trying to get the cows back to safety try to push them back up the hill and there was a police helicopter.”

James said that the revellers did pick up most of the litter but that the council and locals will face an ‘enormous cost’ in the cleanup operation.

He added: “You have got no idea of the cost – the cost to the fencing is huge. The cost to the council as well.

“I don’t think people quite realise the damage they have done.”

A clean up operation has begun after thousands of ravers descended on an illegal party in Steyning

James said a lack of toilets left human waste in hedges as well as small bits of litter around the national park.

He added that revellers had continued to party despite heavy rain – which he thought in part could be due to a lack of live events in the past 18 months.

James said: “Someone said it was the largest free party in the last two years. It’s a real shame. I can really see why people would love to do that – they missed the point that they were trespassing.

“They were causing a lot of distress to cattle and local people.”

A Horsham District Council spokeswoman said: “Sussex Police have advised us that they are still at the site of the event as many people have not yet left the location. Once we have had notification from the police our Cleansing team will be able to carry out a full assessment of any clearance requirements and resultant costs.”