Man sentenced for his involvement in Houghton Forest rave

A MAN has been sentenced for the part he played in a rave near Arundel in April.

Thomas Locke, 25, from Grayshott, in Surrey, pleaded guilty at Chichester Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday, December 4) to causing a public nuisance.

He was sentenced a 12-month community order, with conditions, and required to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

Locke was ordered to pay £200 compensation to the farmer, £100 to the café owner and £200 to the forestry commission, with £200 court costs.

The illegal rave took place across the Easter Bank Holiday weekend in the Houghton Forest, in Houghton, near Arundel.

When police officers arrived at 2.20am it was in full swing and, due to the huge scale, estimated to be between 2,000 and 3,000 people, and the remote location, police were unable to effectively close it down.

However, the police helicopter was able to record images which would provide key evidence to the investigation.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “The rave caused significant disruption for the local community with excessive and intrusive noise throughout the night and the following day.

“The Forestry Commission, the local café owner, the farmer whose crops were damaged all suffered financial loss owing to damage to property, significant clean up cost and loss of business. Large quantities of hazardous waste including human excrement was left at the site.”

PC Bernadette Lawrie, from Littlehampton’s neighbourhood policing team, led the criminal investigation which led to identifying Locke as the person responsible for the hire of a lorry used to house sound equipment at the rave.

In July, an evidential search warrant was executed at his home address where police recovered sound equipment and paperwork relating to the hire of the lorry.

While at the address, police discovered a cannabis factory which Locke admitted to setting up.

He was subsequently convicted for the production of cannabis.

Further evidence was obtained from more than 15 witnesses who had been directly affected by the rave in some way and an effective case was prepared against Locke for causing a public nuisance.

PC Lawrie said: “I was delighted to see both the CPS and the court recognised the impact an event like this has on the local community and this was reflected in the sentence Locke received.

“This was an unusual case as despite being unable to make any arrests at the time of the event, a successful prosecution was as a result of a thorough investigation.

“I am hopeful this sends a clear message to anyone thinking of organising an illegal rave in Sussex, that it won’t be tolerated and they can expect to be prosecuted.

“I was also pleased to see the Judge award significant compensation to those who suffered the most financially.”