Illegal rave was 50th birthday bash, court told
PUBLISHED: 12:30 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:27 05 November 2019
An illegal rave was a birthday party which had to be moved at short notice, a court was told.
Malcolm Pitcher, 50, of Green Lane, Wymondham, admitted organising an unlicensed music event when he appeared before King's Lynn magistrates.
Justices heard between 100 and 150 people gathered on land at Cockley Cley, near Swaffham, over the weekend of March 22-24.
Mark Jackson, prosecuting, said the landowner was "relatively ambivalent" regarding the event, which had left no damage or litter.
He said when police attended on the Friday night, they found many attendees "unable to converse" because they were under the influence of drink or drugs.
He said Pitcher approached officers wearing a hi-vis jacket and told them he had organised the event because a venue in Norwich had let him down at the last minute.
Mr Jackson said music was being played through a professional set-up of speakers and a mixing desk.
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Pitcher said he would bring the event to an end but it continued until the following afternoon. Sound equipment was seized by officers.
Mr Jackson said: "There is not a scrap of evidence that this was a birthday event for him."
Pitcher, representing himself, said: "It was my birthday party, we'd hired a sound system and at the last minute we had nowhere to go. I thought because it was a birthday party we'd be all right."
Pitcher said the event was supposed to be a gathering of 50 or 60 friends but more people had got to hear about it.
Chairman of the bench Bill Hush said: "It's not the worst event we've had to deal with in the court.
"It's reassuring that the farmer was not the complainant and was happy that you cleared up afterwards."
Magistrates gave Pitcher a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered him to pay costs of £400, and a £20 victim surcharge.
They made an order for the equipment to be forfeited, but said its owner could make an application to have it returned to them.
A similar charge of carrying on an unlicensed music event against Richard Burrows, 51 of Bridge Road, Sutton Bridge, was dropped after Mr Jackson said the crown would be offering no evidence. Mr Burrows had denied the charge.
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