Police look on as rave wrecks rape crop

A Cambridgeshire arable farmer has been left with £5000-worth of damage after police failed to remove an illegal rave from his land.

Ian Lutey, of Whitehall Farm, St Neots, had crops damaged and a forklift truck vandalised after ravers cut through wire fencing and set up music equipment and speakers in a field.

Despite Cambridgeshire police being aware that about 300 ravers had entered the 1420ha (3500-acre) farm illegally, they were left to drive over a field of oilseed rape, damage field margins and leave rubbish strewn across the land.


Ian Lutey’s pictures of the aftermath of the rave

(Click on each picture to enlarge) 

“The police were notified about it at 11pm on Saturday [9 May],” said Mr Lutey. “They decided that because the farm is in the middle of nowhere it could be left to carry on.

“The first I knew about it was 6am on Sunday and when I got to the farm there were 150 people there.

“They finally left at 3pm on Sunday, but I was left with a smashed forklift, trampled oilseed rape and rubbish everywhere.

“The police don’t seem interested. I’ve had no support from them.”

A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police said officers had monitored the event “from a safe distance” after they had been alerted to it.

“We didn’t know it was happening until another force told us it was taking place,” she said.

“To suddenly muster the number of officers needed to deal with that number of people was unrealistic.

“Officers decided to monitor the event from a safe distance, considering alcohol was being consumed.”

She said officers approached the rave’s organisers on Sunday morning, after Mr Lutey had contacted the police, and told them to leave.

“There were some negotiations and a few hours later the ravers packed up and left.”

The spokeswoman said Mr Lutey had been given advice about improving security on the farm after a previous rave and said no complaints were received from the public over noise.

“It’s an unfortunate set of circumstances for him, but they cut through wires.

“We have advised him to secure the farm better in future, but I can understand he is frustrated.

Six people were arrested for causing damage to crops, while one was arrested for a drug-related offence following the rave.

Mr Lutey may be able to take civil action against those arrested to claim back some money to pay for the damage caused, the spokeswoman added.