POLICE chiefs have hit out after up to 4,000 people attended an illegal rave at a beauty spot that saw one man die.
Many from the area ended up in scenes of chaos as partygoers descended on a country park and breached social distancing rules.
A 20-year-old is believed to have died after a drug overdose at the event, which saw people trampling through fields before gathering.
Piles of litter were left behind at Daisy Nook after the scenes on Saturday, June 13.
And Chris Sykes, Assistant Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, did not hold back in his criticism of those who took part.
He said after the party at Daisy Nook: “These raves were illegal and I condemn them taking place – they were clearly a breach of coronavirus legislation and guidelines, and have had tragic consequences.
“There are believed to have been around 4,000 people at the peak of the gathering.
“Whilst that’s a significant number, there were no reported incidents of further crime but sadly a 20-year-old man passed away from a suspected drug overdose following the gathering and we have specialist officers supporting his family at this time.”
Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding branded the event ‘irresponsible and selfish’ amid a global pandemic.
“Gathering for an illegal rave at a local beauty spot is something that would be rightly condemned at any time for the danger it places people in and mess left for others to clean up,” he said.
“Though for this to happen in the middle of a global coronavirus pandemic adds an entirely new dimension to how irresponsible and selfish this gathering was.
“Gathering in these numbers under these circumstances has put many more people at risk of harm than just those present.”
He added: “I’d just like to say our thoughts are with the family and friends of the young man who sadly died.”
The aftermath saw the popular nature spot strewn with thousands of nitrous oxide canisters, smashed bottles, and discarded cups and cans. There were also burned patches of grass where fires had been lit.
Larger equipment including a generator, speakers, lights, and a gazebo stood alongside signs reading ‘Quarantine Rave’ were all left behind.
Volunteers and Oldham Council staff began an all-day clean up operation on Sunday to get rid of the mess.
Police also had to deal with another illegal rave in the Carrington area of Trafford that saw about 2,000 people attend.
That saw three reported stabbings, including one where an 18-year-old man was left with life threatening injuries.
The force is also investigating the rape of an 18-year-old woman who attended this event, which saw objects thrown at officers that attended and a police car vandalised.
Assistant Chief Constable Sykes highlighted the strain the raves placed on the emergency call system, saying they saw an increase of more than 60 per cent in 999 calls between 5pm on June 13 and 4am on June 14.
Calls to the 101 number almost doubled in the same period and reports were made through GMP’s website and a LiveChat facility.
He also insisted the force did not simply take an attitude of ‘stand back and watch,’ adding: “The gatherings were carefully monitored by officers but, like all forces, we needed to balance the present public health emergency and our overall demand with ongoing incidents, which can often provide a set of unique challenges when it comes to wider public safety.
“We also have to ensure that we strike the right balance of proportionality and fairness with our overall Coronavirus response.
“We are currently working alongside partners across Greater Manchester and are engaging with local authorities in order to seek further preventative measures and address concerns of our communities during this pandemic.
“We are keen to come up with solutions that meet the needs of the community. I also want to thank those community members that have come out to clean the areas alongside police and members of the local authorities this morning, your support goes a long way.
“Our top priority will always be the safety of the public, who we are here to serve and protect.
“We hope the public can recognise the challenges we are facing at the moment and our communities join together in doing the right thing by following the government guidelines.
“Coronavirus is still a threat and we will continue to engage with people to encourage them to take some personal responsibility and do the right thing. Ultimately we need the people of Greater Manchester to join together and demonstrate the spirit that they have previously shown in the face of hard times.”
Anyone with footage of the event that could assist with police enquiries is asked to send it to firstname.lastname@example.org so that GMP can review it.