Public urged to avoid illegal gatherings this weekend

Officers are continuing to work alongside our local councils to urge the Merseyside public to continue acting responsibly and to avoid hosting and attending unlicensed events and illegal gatherings.

We would like to thank the vast majority of you who are adhering to social distancing measures and protecting the wider community from the virus as well as those who are continuing to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour and reporting it to us.

In the past few weeks, we have seen officers break up gatherings as well as clear extensive amounts of rubbish left behind following these events in Rainford, Knowsley, Aigburth as well as on our beaches in New Brighton, West Kirby, Crosby and Formby and most recently at The Devonshire House Hotel in Liverpool.

On the beaches, a large amount of rubbish was left following a number of illegal gatherings over the Bank Holiday weekend, resulting in significant and costly clean-up operations.

In Knowsley, officers were called to an illegal gathering that had continued throughout the night of 1st June in the wooded area near Huyton. The event again saw a significant amount of rubbish and items consistent with drugs misuse littering the area and meant the landowner had to pay out to clean what had been left behind.

Following this, on 6th June, in Rainford, officers attended an area of private land close to the M58 as a large number of young people had been seen congregating in the area.

Police turned away around 200 people in vehicles and on foot as well as having to close the East Lancs Road to deter further attendees. Four men were arrested on suspicion of Section 5 public order offences, causing a public nuisance and were provided with dispersal order notices. Their DJ equipment, lighting and lasers were also seized.

A further 15 dispersal notices were provided, 12 people dealt with for drugs offences, 10 dispersal zone notices issued, and 15 Covid-19 tickets issued. As well as a significant amount of rubbish, alcohol containers and evidence of drug misuse located and the site had to be cleaned up by the landowner. The land was also deemed unsuitable for the cattle, who also had to be accommodated elsewhere, causing another expense.

On 12th June, another unlicensed event was hosted on Otterspool Drive, Aigburth. Patrols attended where they again seized DJ equipment and arrested two people on suspicion of possession of a controlled drug.

Most recently, at around 8pm on 16th June, officers were called to The Devonshire House Hotel following reports of another illegal gathering. Five people aged between 14-17 were taken home by officers whilst a 21 and 22 year old were both given Covid-19 fixed penalty notices. Officers also seized DJ equipment.

Cabinet member for communities and partnerships, Cllr Liz Parsons, said:
“There are all sorts of risks from attending an illegal gathering. This is not just from the spread of COVID-19, but also issues such as violence and injuries. Security will not be available to help and there will not be proper stewarding. If it is held indoors you do not know how safe the building is, and there are also environmental issues such as noise to consider. Attending these type of events presents a real risk to people and we would advise anyone thinking of going to one to seriously consider their own safety.”

Anyone with information on any future events should get in touch via @MerPolCC or contact @CrimestoppersUK completely anonymously.