Police have arrested five people as they shut down an illegal rave in an abandoned arm building in North Weald.

Officers moved to close the unlicensed music event – which was in breach of the Government's coronavirus regulations – in High Road at 11pm last night (Saturday, November 21).

Essex Police proactively put a dispersal place in order covering parts of Epping, Theydon Bois, Thornwood, North Weald Bassett, and Epping Green at 10pm, having learnt of plans for the rave.

When offiers arrived at the location they discovered a large gathering of people and took action to break it up and disperse revellers.

Five people – men aged between 19 and 27 from Kent and London – were arrested on suspicion of offences under the Coronavirus Act, 12 others were fined, and sound equipment and a generator was seized.

The event was shut down by the early hours of Sunday morning and officers stayed in the area to maintain a visible presence and deter people from coming back.

Superintendent Richard Melton said: “This was a clear and blatant breach of the Government’s Covid-19 regulations and posed a risk to the health of those attending through the spread of the virus.

“As well as the risk of spreading Covid-19, going to unlicensed music events risks your welfare through the drug taking and violence we know takes place and you could be targeted by criminals we know go to them.

“Our approach has always been to engage with people, explain the regulations, and encourage them to do the right thing.

“If that’s not successful, and it’s necessary and appropriate to do so, we’ll then take enforcement action.

“I appreciate these are challenging times for everyone but we all have a personal responsibility to keep each other safe.

“Where our officers have attend and deal with blatant breaches like this, it takes them away from being able to tackle other issues and affects our ability to respond to other incidents.

“Most people in Essex continue to do the right thing and I want to thank you for that. Following the regulations means we can do what we do best – help people, keep people safe, and catch criminals.”