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‘Mindless’ rave-goers cause havoc in Thetford Forest

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Some of the rubbish that was cleared up after the ravers left (3800587)
Some of the rubbish that was cleared up after the ravers left (3800587)

A Thetford Forest illegal rave last weekend may cost the Forestry Commission thousands of pounds.

An estimated 1,000 revellers broke into the forest from the B1106 Brandon Road side on Saturday and set up decks and speakers in the woodland.

Dave Kingsworth, a community ranger with the commission said: “I was on my mountain bike going through the forest and came upon them on Sunday.

“There were just people everywhere and loads of cars.”

They breached fences, broke locks off barriers and even demolished earth banks to get through various fire routes, which are used for emergency services to access the forest.

Once inside and set up, the music could be heard in Santon Downham, around two miles away.

During the two days the people, some coming from as far away as Lincoln, spread through the forest are are even believed to have gone into the danger zone of Thetford Rifle Range and were abusive to staff at High Lodge on the other side of the woods.

Dave said: “A lot of people use the forest lawfully, walking their dogs and out with their children. Then we have these people with their cars flying up and down the tracks - it is lucky no-one got hurt.

“I personally think the damage they have caused and the rubbish they have left is mindless in such a lovely area.”

The mess left was finally cleared up in an all-day operation on Tuesday with the rubbish filling three vans.

Dave said: “We have only just come down from extreme fire risks after the hot weather but there was broken glass all over the place and they had lit several fires, too.

“Having our staff out here clearing the rubbish, using tractors and vans, it has probably cost us thousands to sort this out.”

A Suffolk Police spokesman said they discovered the event on Sunday during a patrol.

The spokesman said: “Due to its distance from any residential areas it was not causing a disturbance. Officers stayed in the area for a couple of hours to monitor activity and returned later on in the morning as the event began to disperse and remained in place to oversee this process.”

The Forestry Commission have no powers to remove people from the forest and Dave said: “They were outnumbered – how were two officers going to deal with that amount of people? The Suffolk Rural Crime Team got involved on Monday and they were brilliant. But unfortunately by then the damage had been done.”