POLICE arrested 11 people after an illegal rave on the South Downs where a decapitated newborn lamb was found.
At its height the gathering on farmland just outside Woodingdean is thought to have attracted 600 people and more than 40 cars and vans.
The revellers poured into the area after being moved on from their original spot in woodland near Horsham, The Argus understands.
Officers shut off Falmer Road for most of yesterday while the party continued, causing long queues of traffic.
Drug paraphernalia was found discarded at the scene as well as scores of cans, glass bottles and human waste.
Sheep farmer Martin Carr, who is a tenant of the land for Brighton and Hove City Council, said he was “shaking with rage” at the damage caused.
He claims one of the people present was responsible for beheading a lamb which had been born in the nearby field within hours of them arriving.
However, police said there was no evidence of this incident being connected to the rave and partygoers strenuously denied any involvement.
He said: “I have 1,300 lambing sheep at the moment. Now one is wandering around crying for her lamb. Who beheads a lamb?
“I won’t be able to use the field for grazing or hay because it’s been contaminated. It’s not about the money, although that is a factor, it is about knowing what’s right and wrong.
“I only found out about this at about 11am and police knew since 3am. No one told me and no one has helped me.”
Officers saw large numbers of people in vehicles pile into the area at around 3am but were forced to wait and monitor the event for more than 12 hours. The police could not break it up because it was not safe to do so, a police spokesman said, and instead blocked off the main road leading to the A27.
But by 6pm the road was re-opened and a handful of arrests were made – nine on suspicion of causing a public nuisance, one for drug driving and another for assault. All were still in custody last night.
Carl Rea said the road block resulted in “complete and utter chaos” in Woodingdean. Other residents complained the bass from the music was pounding so hard they could not sleep on Saturday night.
Dog walkers Joe Hilling and Zoe Funge-Smith said they did not mind the party as long as no one was getting hurt. Ms Funge-Smith said music was the “glue” that held the world together. But both said they did not approve if animal cruelty was involved.
Police said Mr Carr was contacted as soon as possible.
Superintendent Jane Derrick said officers worked to “minimise disruption to the community” and bring the event to a “safe conclusion”, adding: “We would like to thank the local residents for their patience and understanding while we dealt with this illegal event.”
One man who claimed to know the organisers, but would not identify them or himself because ravers had been “victimised in the press before”, said: “We clean up after ourselves. We are just having fun. We apologise for the noise but we don’t do this often.”
He claimed the group were forced to pick a more residential spot because they were moved on from their original choice.
PARTY-GOERS CAME FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY FOR EVENT
RAVERS awoke on Easter Sunday to a gentle breeze, the sun on their faces, glorious views and the pounding of a bass as they partied on the South Downs.
But for farmer Martin Carr it was like waking in a nightmare as he spent the morning trying to protect his flock of sheep in the field next door after finding a newborn lamb had been slaughtered and decapitated.
He claims someone at the rave was behind the killing, though police said there was no evidence to suggest that was the case.
The revellers The Argus spoke to yesterday were horrified and disgusted to hear an animal had been killed in such a brutal way and said it was unthinkable that any in their party would be responsible because the gathering “just was not like that”.
Many had travelled from across the country to “celebrate the land” and listen to music. Some had come from Norfolk because they knew it would be a great rave, others had just wandered over the hills from Brighton.
They insisted the site would be clear of all rubbish before they left and black bin bags were beginning to be filled.
But nonetheless, discarded bottles and cans of alcohol, food wrappers and empty baggies – small plastic bags for drugs – clung to the grass and fluttered in the breeze.
Faeces was found in the bushes and many were spotted urinating on fencing by a telephone mast and in the undergrowth.
Clusters of used hippy crack (nitrous oxide) cannisters were found discarded by rows of cars parked by ravers along nearby Bexhill Road.
Some locals said the gathering was outrageous and should be stamped out but others were more accommodating, saying as long as they were not harming anyone it was ok.
Mr Carr, whose sheep graze on the patch of land, said he was “shaking with rage” and he was now unable to use it because it had been contaminated with chemicals and human waste.
Cory Bond, 27, had travelled from Milton Keynes with ten friends for the free event which she heard about through the “party line”.
She said groups of ravers gather together every year in open spaces.
“The party has been amazing. It’s really fun to do something like this in your life and have a release. It’s a great open space.
“There’s no harm in everybody just sitting and chilling. That’s what we all just want to do. We parked our cars nearby and walked.”
But she said killing animals was “tragic” and “horrible”.
She said: “If someone has caused any harm to the sheep, we do not approve of that; they would be outcast.
“We’re sorry if there’s anything we have done to upset or offend. We are all about peace, love, respect and unity.
“We don’t want anyone to hurt anyone. We just want to chill and dance. It’s an Easter celebration. No one really organises it; it’s a collaboration. We always try to ask the landowner’s permission before we come but it sounds like he’s upset so maybe that didn’t happen here. We apologise for using his land. Sometimes they are ok with it. But does anyone really own the land?”
Another raver, who called himself AKA Machine, has lived in Brighton for three years. He said he had not been to many “free” parties before but found them liberating and they were an “important analogy for celebration”, adding: “People just want to party”.
Anyone who suspects a rave might be planned should call police on 101 or if people or vehicles are seen arriving, dial 999.
HUNDREDS OF CALLS TO POLICE
POLICE received more than 170 calls about illegal raves in Sussex in the last 13 years, figures said.
The highest number of calls were made between 2009 and 2010, according to the statistics obtained using Freedom of Information laws. Some 40 calls were made to the Brighton and Hove police division over the period.
Last year officers appealed for help to “nip fledgling events in the bud” adding: “Once a rave becomes established, it is very difficult to close it down safely, especially during the hours of darkness. Early warnings of events, either from people living close by or from information gleaned from social media, enables police to attend and prevent people from accessing the site.”
It came after they broke up a large rave in a forest in Eartham near Chichester after reports of loud music.
In May 2014, some 2,000 ravers partied all weekend on open land above Devil’s Dyke near Dyke Golf Club where seven huge sound systems blasted out music which could be heard from Poynings.