06/03/2006 – Operation Hartley targets would-be ravers in the south west

Wiltshire Police is again participating in a south west regional operation and is warning people not to try and set up illegal raves.

The south west is considered to be one of a number of susceptible areas in the UK for illegal raves and the five south west region police forces – Wiltshire, Avon & Somerset, Devon & Cornwall, Dorset and Gloucestershire – are working together to combat them by proactively targeting organisers of events in an intelligence-led manner.

The operation will run throughout the coming months and will also take into account the Solstice celebrations in June, where large numbers of people are expected to visit the region. Because Glastonbury Festival is not being held this year, it is anticipated that there will be attempts to stage some ‘events’ instead and people may gather illegally to try and achieve this.

Wiltshire Police works very closely with English Heritage and other agencies during the Solstice period to ensure the environment around Stonehenge is protected from unlawful activities and that the movement of traffic along one of the south west’s busiest trunk roads is not impeded. The type of work undertaken by Operation Hartley allows police officers to be better informed and therefore more effective in their operational enforcement.

The public can also assist the police in their efforts to deal with this problem by reporting any suspicious activity around open land or disused buildings by either contacting Wiltshire Police on 0845 408 7000 or by contacting Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.