Footage released of Wigan illegal gathering as GMP remind public dangers of such events
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Helicopter footage of a large illegal gathering at a farm in Wigan at the weekend has been released by police, who continue to investigate the organisation of the event and are appealing to the public for information.
The footage, taken on-board the National Police Air Service (NPAS)’s aircraft during the multi-agency response to the incident, shows 300 people gathered on the site near the border of Glazebury, adjacent to a live railway line on Saturday night.
Attendees are seen to make their way on the tracks during the event and at one point disrupt the journey of a passing train.
Despite police advice, many people made off from the event via the railway line with officers working alongside Network Rail and British Transport Police (BTP) to mitigate the dangers posed to the group.
Officers were notified of an unlicensed music event taking place at 8.45pm on Saturday 31 October by the owner of the farm who had returned to the 320-acre site to find a large number of people gathered there with music equipment and loud music playing.
A large co-ordinated response took place, led by GMP – supported by the Force’s dedicated operation for large-scale COVID breaches – with assistance from Cheshire Police, BTP, NPAS and Network Rail.
Deployed resources stopped access to the several routes to the site, and a section 35 dispersal order was imposed either side of the county-border by both GMP and Cheshire Police, and the 300 people were dispersed.
Seven police vehicles were damaged and a machete was found at the site.
Officers are keen to reiterate their message to the public of the dangers that such unlicensed events pose to the health and safety of those in attendance and the wider community.
An investigation is currently ongoing into the organisation of the event and 25 people have been identified for possible further action.
Detectives are appealing to the public with any information to get in touch.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: “Today we have released helicopter footage of the unlicensed music event in Wigan where hundreds gathered and many put themselves in danger by attending this in such dangerous terrain and put their loved ones in danger by the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
“It was shameful to see so many in attendance and for groups of attendees to make their way onto the tracks of a live railway and put themselves in further danger. The memory of the illegal events in Carrington and Daisy Nook earlier this year serves as a reminder of the difficulties posed to emergency services in accessing these locations when needed.
“Not everyone attends these events with the same intentions; this was demonstrated by the recovery of a machete in some bushes at the site and it is fortunate that no further serious criminal activity took place.
“Our focus on the night was to safely disperse those there and maintain order; now we are determined to identify and bring to account those who organised this event and who put so many people in danger by their reckless actions – we are confident retrospective action will follow.
“I would also like to thank the owner of the site for swiftly informing police of this event and being cooperative with us since. He was left with a totally unacceptable amount of litter and damage caused to some of his site which put his livestock in danger.
“I urge anyone with information about this gathering to contact police with the knowledge that we are channelling all our efforts into finding the organisers responsible for this and ensuring that justice is served.”
Any information about this illegal event should be reported to police on 0161 856 3034 quoting incident number 3231 of 31/10/2020. Details can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.