A summer of illegal raves and squatters “a security nightmare”

The costly clean and repair after an illegal rave

With the heat of the sum­mer, and in the rush to make up for lost time as lock­down eas­es, there are signs of sig­nif­i­cant increas­es in squat­ting activ­i­ty and flash ille­gal raves spring­ing up across the UK, accord­ing to the data reports from a lead­ing secu­ri­ty company. 

Reports of ille­gal raves over the week­end, and the bank hol­i­day before it, stretch from Leeds to Lon­don, Salt­coats in Scot­land, to Som­er­set, in the South West, involv­ing thou­sands of peo­ple with hun­dreds of police offi­cers need­ed to con­trol them, say the VPS Group, who han­dle calls to secure prop­er­ties nation­wide and across Europe.

Sum­mer is a tra­di­tion­al sea­son for raves in any cir­cum­stances.” Says Nicholas Bye, Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Direc­tor for VPS. But with the record tem­per­a­tures in May, and the effects of being pent-up at home dur­ing lock­down, there’s been a sud­den rush of rapid­ly organ­ised raves. Add to that the finan­cial pres­sure many ten­ants have expe­ri­enced, and with lots of build­ings left tem­porar­i­ly vacant, we are see­ing what could be the start of a steep rise in both squat­ting and ille­gal raves.”

The com­pa­ny keeps a log of squat­ter reports and the most recent inci­dents include a for­mer Indi­an restau­rant in Lin­colnshire, a closed day cen­tre in Twick­en­ham, and vacant com­mer­cial blocks in Man­ches­ter and East London. 

Senior police were report­ed as prepar­ing their forces for a rise in crim­i­nal activ­i­ty. David Jamieson, police and crime com­mis­sion­er for the West Mid­lands, said he feared that we could have tens, if not hun­dreds, of thou­sands of young peo­ple in the West Mid­lands — par­tic­u­lar­ly young men — who, around about June or July, find they have got no job to go back to. Or at least they are going to be unem­ployed for a con­sid­er­able peri­od of time.”

Nicholas Bye adds that Unfor­tu­nate­ly, there’s no avoid­ing the impli­ca­tions for the secu­ri­ty of vul­ner­a­ble prop­er­ties as a con­se­quence of the lock­down. We expect to see a rise not just in raves and squat­ting, but also in met­al and cable thefts, her­itage crimes, and fur­ther break-ins to closed pubs, for­mer care homes, emp­ty church­es and remote sites. With­out ade­quate pro­tec­tion in place, it could be a secu­ri­ty nightmare.”