CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Police shut down Halloween rave at former Hampstead police station

Around 800 revellers were said to be at the gathering

01 November, 2020 — By Bronwen Weatherby

People in the street around Hampstead police station [@jmedwards]

OFFICERS last night (Saturday) busted an illegal Halloween rave taking place inside the former site of Hampstead Police Station.

Nearby residents called police after up to 800 descended on the site in Rosslyn Hill, just hours after Prime Minister Boris Johnson had announced plans for a new national coronavirus lockdown to begin later this week.

A closure order was issued at around 2am preventing anyone except the owners of the building from entering it for the next 24 to 48 hours.

No arrests have yet been made but police vowed prosecutions will follow.

Inspector Richard Berns, of Camden Police, said: “Police attended an unlicensed music event in Hampstead and closed it down, seizing sound equipment.

He added: “Given the context of Covid-19 this kind of behaviour is dangerous and irresponsible. An investigation has been started and any organisers identified will be prosecuted.”

The police station was first closed by Mr Johnson during his time as the Mayor of London and has stood empty for over six years.

It was bought by the Department for Education for £14million and set up for Abacus Belsize to open a free school.

But Camden Council has refused planning permission and the future of the site has recently been the subject of a planning inquiry. A decision on whether the school can move in will be made shortly.

The Met has said its public order team dealt with 11 UMEs [unlicensed music events] and illegal gatherings in the city over Halloween night. Organisers of unlicensed events can face fines of up to £10,000 amid the virus crisis.

Police Commander Ade Adelekan said: “If you think the next few days are an excuse to break the rules, think again. You will get caught, we will take action and impose the maximum sanctions.

“Not only are unlicensed music events unsafe for many reasons but they brazenly disregard the current Covid-19 restrictions.”

He added: “The majority of the public have had to make sacrifices during this time, we will not let those who think they are above the law get away with this selfish behaviour.”

 

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