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Friends banned from illegal raves

PUBLISHED: 09:57 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 10:49 08 July 2010

Three friends who took part in a rave in woodland near Swaffham were yesterday banned from attending unlicensed events for two years.

Darren Short, Richard Sherman and Ron Walsh appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court and all admitted aiding and abetting a person or persons to commit the offence of carrying on with an unlicensed activity at Drymere, on September 9 last year.

Three friends who took part in a rave in woodland near Swaffham were yesterday banned from attending unlicensed events for two years.

Darren Short, Richard Sherman and Ron Walsh appeared at Norwich Magistrates' Court and all admitted aiding and abetting a person or persons to commit the offence of carrying on with an unlicensed activity at Drymere, on September 9 last year.

The men had not organised the event but Short and Walsh were later stopped in a transit van carrying bin bags full of rubbish and sound equipment believed to be co-owned by the rave “community”.

Nicholas Crampton, prosecuting, said a gamekeeper visited the area known as track 105 at about midnight and saw more than 100 vehicles and heard very loud music.

“He was approached and asked if wanted various illegal substances; he said he found the incident very disturbing,” said Mr Crampton, who added that police attended and recorded footage of the event.

Later the same day, an officer stopped a transit van that had been seen at the rave and found it was being driven by Short, 23, of Front Way, King's Lynn with Walsh, 19, of Manor Way, Swaffham, his passenger.

Mr Crampton added: “He looked in the back of the vehicle and saw a large sound system… he identified 15 items which included two generators, four fuel cases and a variety of electrical equipment. There were also 20 bin bags of rubbish.”

In police interview, both men claimed they accepted the offer of using the van to drive to Swaffham because they had been abandoned by their friends and had no way of getting home.

Sherman, 23, now of Norwich Street, Dereham, agreed that he lived with and was the carer of a woman who hired the van but denied he had anything to do with it getting to the scene.

The court heard the unemployed chef had no previous convictions and had a “clear lack of knowledge of the criminal consequences” of taking part in the rave.

Alan Wheatman, for Short, said he his client had been asked to drive the van because the female hirer, who also attended the rave, was complaining about her arthritis.

“It maybe that this is something not that different to the mules that put drugs through customs for people… Mr Short found himself unwittingly involved,” said Mr Wheatman.

“It just so happens that the vehicle he was invited to drive is the one carrying the rubbish and the sound system.”

Sentencing all three to two-year community order with a prohibited activity requirement, District Judge Philip Browning said: “It's common knowledge in this county that so-called raves in rural areas have become a common source of concern, both for noise and nuisance and the litter they generate.”

They were each ordered to pay £140 costs.

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