Police have made further arrests after being made aware and responding to a large unlicensed music event in Steyning in the early hours of Sunday (27 June).
At its height, up to 2,000 people were present and a significant number of officers were deployed to the area to bring the event which included a large number of vehicles and pedestrians near Bostal Road to a safe conclusion.
Officers attempted to engage with those present, however were met with significant hostility. One officer was assaulted while attempting to detain an individual resisting arrest. A police community support officer is also being treated for a suspected broken arm following a collision involving a police car and a vehicle being driven by someone leaving the event. The driver and passengers of the second vehicle were also taken to hospital as a precaution. A 20-year-old man from Redditch, was arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of both drink and drugs in relation to this collision.
At 5.45pm, a directive to leave the area was issued by police and the event reached a conclusion at 7.15pm however there remains significant disruption on the roads in the area, owing to the high volume of vehicles in the vicinity and people are again urged to avoid the area if possible.
A large volume of music equipment, including sound systems and speakers, was seized by officers. As a result, a further eight individuals were identified as the organisers of the unlicensed event and arrested.
A second collision with another police vehicle was reported at approximately 7pm. The driver was arrested on suspicion of failing to stop, dangerous driving and failing to provide a breath test.
At this time, in excess of 50 people have been arrested on suspicion of offences including drink and drug-driving, possession of drugs and theft, and have been taken into custody. It is expected that this figure will increase, making it one of the largest, unplanned operations Sussex Police has experienced in recent years.
Detective Superintendent Juliet Parker said: “Due to the mindless actions of a large number of people, the majority of whom have travelled from out of county, the community of Steyning has experienced significant disruption and I’d like to personally thank the public for their patience, understanding and co-operation as we sought to bring this event to a close.
“With a situation of this size, our utmost priority must be the safety of the public as well as our officers and emergency services colleagues at the scene. This therefore has required a significant police response involving officers from across Sussex as well as officers from surrounding forces. Officers who would have normally been dealing with serious crime and supporting the most vulnerable in our counties.
“These individuals have demonstrated a complete disregard for the local community, the heritage of the area and the existing Covid-19 regulations. We will not tolerate behaviour like this within Sussex, as can be seen by the high volume of arrests made over the course of the event. We will continue to robustly investigate this illegal activity; seeking to further arrest and prosecute wherever possible.”
Officers will remain in the area for the foreseeable time and will continue to proactively stop all vehicles leaving the area.