Stupid, selfish and illegal gatherings that sneered at lockdown

The lockdown has been one of the strangest few weeks in modern British history.

The public has been asked to endure heartbreakingly difficult separations from friends and family, and many will be wondering if their businesses will survive.

Seriously ill patients have been forced to struggle on alone in their hospital beds thanks to strict national rules restricting visitors.

But while the majority of the population has followed the rules and put their energies into slowing the spread of coronavirus, there have been some shocking incidents of people sneering in the face of these regulations.

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Despite the risks of jeopardising the hard won gains against the virus that the people of Merseyside have sacrificed to achieve, frustrations and impatience have seen illegal lockdown raves and house parties taking place.

The 'paintball' rave

In the most recent case, hundreds of youths flouted lockdown rules to attend at an illegal rave in the woods between Kirkby and Rainford on Friday, June 5.

Video footage posted on social media showed large numbers of young revellers dancing to house music and drinking alcohol.

The rave was thought to have taken place on land belonging to Paintball Airsoft Lasertag, in deep countryside off New Cut Lane, on the border of Kirkby and Rainford.

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A huge area of land was left strewn with rubbish, beer cans and bottles of nitrous oxide aka 'hippy crack' the following day.

The event was unlicensed with no visible security, and the unsafe environment saw one man suffer a broken leg, a woman a broken ankle, and a second woman burns to her leg.

A 24-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker and possession of cocaine during the night.

Merseyside Police blocked routes to the site and turned away around 200 people who were on foot and in cars.

Officers also said they dealt with 12 people for drugs offences and a further 15 were given coronavirus tickets.

Police at the scene after a rave in Rainford

At around 5.30am, when most people had left, four men were seen by officers packing up DJ equipment.

They were arrested on suspicion of Section 5 public order offences, causing a public nuisance and were provided with dispersal order notices.

Police said they have been taken into custody and DJ equipment, lighting and lasers seized.

In a bizarre twist, those who attended the rave were asked to "find it in your heart" to donate £5,000 to the organisers.

A GoFundMe page was set up claiming all of the equipment was broken and then later edited to say "lost".

The post said 2,000 people turned up and added that "not a single person paid, the DJs have not received a wage, the group that organised it didn't receive a penny."


Elsewhere in Knowsley, an area off Liverpool Road near the M62 became the site of the so-called 'Huytonbury' rave.

The event appears to have been organised via a private Instagram account called "projex_hytn" which now has more than 2,000 followers.

Lots of people can be seen at the illegal rave which Merseyside Police are investigating

According to reports, the illegal gathering saw lockdown flouters fighting and taking drugs while leaving mountains of rubbish and drugs paraphernalia behind.

And there were examples of more sinister violence when a 19-year-old man was rushed to hospital with suspected knife wound, which fortunately proved to be superficial.

A 34-year-old man also suffered suspected knife wounds, which were also minor, and police are investigating both incidents.

The rave began on Monday, June 1 and was reported to have lasted until the early hours of June 2.

The projex-hytn Instagram page organises the illegal lockdown raves

Chief Inspector Phil Mullally said at the time: "I would again appeal directly to families and friends of those that attended this rave earlier this week to get in touch with us and share whatever information you may have.

"Also, please continue to ask your children where they’re going and who they plan on meeting up with.

"This pandemic affects us all and it is in your best interest that events like these are stopped before they begin.”

Crime on the beach

Moving out of Knowsley, a seemingly less organised series of gatherings caused a major headache for police on Saturday, May 30.

On the beaches of Crosby and Formby, fantastic weather and recent easing of the rules led to a number of youths taking advantage during the evening.

Litter, bottles and fires left on the sand dunes at Formby.

Officers were deployed to break up a number of illegal rave type events reportedly due to take place.

During their patrols police also made a number of arrests and sent groups of children away from the area.

Posting about the evening on Twitter, Merseyside Police also said that a number of fires on the beaches also had to be put out.

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In their tweet, officers added they were forced to seize alcohol on the beach and people were arrested for drug possession and drink driving offences.

They tweeted: "Due to reports of disorder and arranged rave type meets in Formby/Crosby we have been policing the beach tonight.

"Groups of youths have been dispersed, fires put out, alcohol seized and arrests for possession of drugs and drink drive."