22 April 2019
An unauthorised gathering of people has been taking place across two fields at Wytch in Corfe Castle, near Wareham.
We were first called at 12.18am on Sunday 21 April 2019 with reports that in excess of 1,000 people had attended and there were a large number of vehicles travelling through the area.
Officers have been at the incident and remained at the scene throughout Sunday and into this morning, Monday 22 April 2019.
Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Kessell, of Dorset Police, said: “We are fully aware of the distress and disruption this incident has caused to local residents and visitors to the area, many of whom experienced sleepless nights because of the amount of noise coming from the site. We have received more than 100 calls from members of the public in relation to this and clearly the selfish behaviour of a few have disrupted the holiday weekend for many residents and visitors.
“We have liaised with the landowner and now put containment around the site to prevent further people from attending. On Sunday afternoon specially-trained officers from our public order unit were authorised to enter the site and direct those present to leave the scene of the unlawful gathering using our powers under the Public Order Act.
“Due to the large scale of the initial event this process has taken some time, and it is unfortunate that a core group of those involved continued to cause a disturbance into Sunday night.
“By the early hours of this morning only a small proportion of individuals remained on site. Sound equipment was seized, allowing us to minimise any further disruption to local residents.
“After initially refusing to comply with our efforts to move them on, this final group eventually left the site shortly after 12pm today.
“As well as the noise nuisance for residents and visitors, distress to livestock on farmland at and near the site, during this incident a number of offences have been committed including criminal damage to property. We are investigating these matters and will ensure those found to be responsible are prosecuted. This is supported by vehicle checks in the area and on the site, deployment of officers with video recording equipment, drones and bodycams as well as other intelligence gathering methods.
“We are also keen to hear from anyone with information about those involved in organising the event or have witnessed offences committed.
“Access to the site and some minor roads remain closed and we will be turning away anyone who attempts to gain entry.
“Dorset Police has been managing this incident alongside a number of other serious incidents, with heavy business as usual demand, as is normal for a sunny bank holiday weekend in Dorset, when thousands of visitors attend the county. This has disrupted communities and caused our officers to work extended hours.
“Local residents will see an increased police presence while operations are concluded and as we continue to work with the landowner.
“I would like to thank the public for reporting the issue to us, and appreciate their patience while the matter was resolved. I would also like to thank the landowner for their support and co-operation throughout this incident."
Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police at www.dorset.police.uk, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 101. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
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