AN ILLEGAL rave attended by around 300 revellers caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage to an empty building on New Year’s Eve.
Vandals scrawled graffiti on the walls, destroyed fixtures and fittings and smashed windows with fire extinguishers at the property in Willowbrook Road, Worthing. Broken glass was left strewn around the outside of the building, while the inside was littered with beer bottles and cans.
Doors hung off their hinges and holes were smashed in the interior walls of the unit owned by insurance firm AXA. The property has now been boarded up by security firm VPS.
Inspector Allan Lowe of Sussex Police said: “We are liaising with the owners of the property and police are presently examining issues surrounding the rave.”
“Police attended on the night. About 300 people were believed to be present and there were some issues over the ownership of the building due to it being up for sale. Those attending the event dispersed of their own accord early the following morning and police powers did not need to be used.
“We later received a report of damage to the building and this matter is currently being investigated.
“This type of event is rare for the Worthing area but when they do occur, they often cause significant challenges for the police. We look to take positive action wherever possible, with public safety being our primary consideration.”
There have been no charges for criminal damage, but a 26-year-old man from Angmering was cautioned for possessing a small quantity of cannabis. Worthing borough councillor Roger Oakley witnessed the all-night party as it was winding down at around 10am on New Year’s Day.
“I was somewhat concerned about the gravity of the situation there,” Cllr Oakley said.
“There wasn’t a great deal of public nuisance because of the location. That having been said, it’s still private property trespassed upon and entry has been forced.”
Cllr Oakley, a former police officer, said he had tried to contact the police for information but never received a reply.
“In fairness to the police it was probably one of the busiest nights of the year for them,” he said.
According to some of Cllr Oakley’s younger constituents, the rave had been widely advertised on social media shortly before New Year.
“It causes me a great deal of concern that someone is breaking the law and very little appears to have been done about it. These things really should not happen.”
The property is under offer from a new tenant who is aware of the damage.
It is estimated the repairs will cost more than £50,000.