Criminal Gangs Funding ‘Quarantine Raves’ in UK to Sell Drugs

Discarded nitrous oxide canisters are scattered on the ground in front of the Pyramid Stage at the end of the Glastonbury Festival of Music and Performing Arts on Worthy Farm near the village of Pilton in Somerset, South West England, on June 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF …
OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

Criminal gangs are funding illegal quarantine raves to sell drugs to young Britons during the national lockdown, police in the United Kingdom say.

In Manchester, senior police officers and councillors believe that pop-up “block parties” are being sponsored by organised crime, paying for DJs and sound equipment to fill the void in drug dealer’s business models left by the closure of nightclubs in the city.

There have been some 39 illegal raves and other gatherings over the past two weeks in the Manchester area alone, with police admitting that they have only successfully shut down 13 raves, which are illegal under the UK’s coronavirus legislation.

“The drugs trade, because the nightclubs are closed and will be for a long time, they are planning a summer of these block parties across the city so that they can ply their trade selling drugs to young people,” said local city centre spokesman for the council Pat Karney, per the Manchester Evening News.

“It’s organised crime because of the money that it takes to put on these events in terms of speakers, DJs and generators. These block parties don’t come cheap,” Councillor Karney added.

At two quarantine raves in Manchester in June, three people were stabbed, a young woman was raped, and a man died of a suspected drug overdose.

The following week, two men were shot and killed in a DJ hosted rave in a residential courtyard in Moss Side, which the police refused to shut down saying that it was “unachievable” to disperse the crowd.

Neil Woods, a former undercover police officer, told The Sun that organised drug dealers see the quarantine raves as a “huge opportunity” and that the police are incapable of stopping them from occurring.

“Most of these parties, by the time the police hear about it, there’s two or three thousand people in a field,” Woods said.

One man who attended a rave in Daisy Nook in Greater Manchester said that though the event was planned to see 400 people attend, some 4,000 came, most of whom paid a £10 entrance fee.

“It was an absolute free-for-all. No police, no security, nothing,” he said, adding: “There were pills, ketamine, coke and obviously the standard that appears throughout these raves — the balloons and stuff, canisters (for inhaling ‘hippy crack’ nitrous oxide).”

Last week saw a series of so-called street parties take place every night between Wednesday and Saturday in London, often turning into violent altercations with police officers trying to enforce the lockdown rules.

In a street party turned riot in Brixton, some 22 officers were injured as the rioters chased the police away, with one man appearing to brandish a sword and others smashing police vehicles with makeshift clubs.

Follow Kurt on Twitter at @KurtZindulka

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