ANYONE aware of plans for mass gatherings or illegal raves this weekend is being urged to contact police.

The plea follows a series of unlicensed events across Merseyside and Greater Manchester over recent weekends.

These blatant breach of lockdown restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic have left many observers shocked and appalled.

One illegal rave, which attracted hundreds of people, took place in woodland between Rainford and Kirkby earlier this month.

The event led to a series of arrests and a number of injuries.

Merseyside Police's head of local policing, Chief Superintendent Matt Boyle, said: “We are appealing to the better nature of our communities who we know are getting frustrated with lockdown rules, but who we are also relying on to continue following government guidance in order for further restrictions to be eased.

“So, our plea is for all of our communities to please avoid any planned gatherings or unlicensed events this weekend that do not adhere to current government guidance and social distancing.

“It has never been more important than now to ensure that we all follow government advice, in place specifically for the safety of those living in Merseyside.

"It is not one person’s job to stop the spread of the virus, we all have a duty of care to protect those who might be more susceptible to it and by avoiding these illegal gatherings, you can ensure you are inadvertently taking a step in the right direction.”

In the past few weeks, officers have had to break up gatherings and clear extensive amounts of rubbish left behind from events in Rainford, Knowsley, Aigburth as well as beaches in New Brighton, West Kirby, Crosby and Formby.

On the beaches, a large amount of rubbish was left following a number of illegal gatherings over the Bank Holiday weekend, resulting in significant and costly clean-up operations, police add.

In total, police have issued 517 COVID-19 fixed penalty notices across the region and our proactive policing continues to ensure the safety of those living in Merseyside, as well as bringing those to justice who are involved in criminality.

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Mr Boyle continued: “Hosting or attending these sorts of events, whether they take place in an area of natural beauty, other open spaces, private land or inside a property or venue, puts you and the wider public at significant risk.

"I am therefore asking those who had considered attending any unlicensed event this weekend, to think again and to those who may know of one being hosted, to tell the police.

St Helens Star:

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, nor should we treat it like it is. Yes, restrictions have been eased, however this does not mean that normal life resumes.

“Wherever an event is held, you put yourself and others at greater risk of catching and spreading coronavirus.

“Government guidance still states that we must continue social distancing, that we must only meet in groups of six at most, have one ‘social bubble’ with one household and of course, be acting sensibly.

“Having to deal with these sorts of unnecessary incidents puts an extra strain on both police and our partners, at a time when all key workers face a huge challenge to join the national effort to beat this pandemic and protect the public.

“So if you are a parent or guardian, please ask where your child is going and who they’re meeting up with. If we all pull together, we will be able to return to normality a lot sooner."

Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: the images and footage of illegal gatherings have been "disgraceful and something we don’t want to see again".

She added: “These types of events are nothing but bad news as they attract anti-social behaviour of the highest order, whether it be drug taking or violence. If you’re thinking of hosting one – don’t bother. You will get found out and will be dealt with by the authorities.

St Helens Star: Cllr Jeanie Bell

Councillor Jeanie Bell

“Local residents are advised that any concerns regarding anti-social behaviour in the locality can be reported via or by calling 01744 676789.”

Anyone with information on any future events should get in touch via @MerPolCC or contact @CrimestoppersUK completely anonymously. You can also call 101 or call 0800 555 111.