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Man sentenced for his involvement in Arundel rave
Police Press Release
5 December 2012
ref- PR41077 /2012
Houghton Forest Rave
A man has been sentenced for the part he played in a rave near Arundel in April this year.
Thomas Locke, 25 from Grayshott in Surrey pleaded guilty at Chichester Crown Court on Tuesday December 4 to causing a public nuisance and has been sentenced a 12 month community order, with conditions and required to complete 180 hours unpaid work. The judge has ordered he 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 (Sunday April 8) in the Houghton Forest in Houghton near Arundel. At the time 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 helicoptor was able to record images which would provide key evidence to the investigation.
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 cafe 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 Thomas Locke as the person responsible for the hire of a lorry used to house the sound equipment played 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. Whilst 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 that 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 that 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."
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