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Police release pictures of more than 130 'suspected ravers' who attended illegal event at historic church

Essex Police have released photos of more than 130 people who attended an illegal music event at a 500-year-old church during lockdown on New Years' Eve.

Hundreds of ravers joined in with the event at the historic All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex.

Organisers broke into the church setting up a bar and DJ decks. Party-goers caused thousands of pounds worth of damage before police broke-up the event.

Officers want people to come forward and identify the 133 people in the images. Anyone who attended the event and who is identified faces a fine.

Chief Insp Ant Alcock, District Commander for Brentwood and Epping Forest, said a statement: "Issuing these images is an unusual step but it highlights the seriousness of the incident and public health threat it posed.

"At the time this event took place Essex was under Tier 4 regulations, infections were rising quickly, a ‘major incident’ had been declared here because of the pressure on our NHS, and nationally there were around 50,000 positive tests a day. 

"This event wasn't just a clear and blatant breach of the Government's Covid-19 regulations but a very real public health risk as well as a slap in the face to all those making sacrifices to do the right thing. Added to that is the damage they caused to the church itself - at Christmas too," he added.

Following the event, four people were arrested. A 32-year-old man from Wickford, was given a £10,000 fine after admitting being an organiser.

Astrid Gillespie, a volunteer for the Friends of All Saints, spoke to PA the day after the rave about the extent of the damage: "There were hundreds of people there, it sounded like it was a ticketed event. It was a professional set-up, they’d hired Portaloos.

"They’ve done damage to the church, obviously it’s a mess and needs to be completely cleaned out. The ground has been all churned up because they must have had vans dropping off all the equipment."

Ms Gillespie, 48, said a small window had been smashed to put in an extractor fan unit and the sound equipment had been wired into the church’s fuse box.

"I love the place, it’s such a beautiful church, and to find out it’s been damaged is devastating, I’m just trying to get my head around it," she added.

A crowdfunder set up by the Friends of All Saints group raised over £20,000 towards repairs and improving security of the church.

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