“You may infect someone and they may die as a result of your actions. This will be on your conscience for the rest of your life. Don’t do it.” Dr Pankhania, at the University of Exeter’s medical school, said that young people who attend illegal mass gatherings were putting their families and communities in grave danger. His warning came after police launched a crackdown on raves and prepared to issue fines of up to £10,000 for organisers.
Dr Pankhania said that although many revellers are in their late teens and 20s, raves and other mass gatherings provide the “right ingredients” for super-spreading and could fuel local outbreaks.
He said: “This is a premeditated action which undoes the work of the lockdown that we have had and the huge expense of the lockdown that the country has had to undergo.
“It can all be undone within a few weeks of carelessness.
“A rave can be an outdoor activity, with lower risk, but singing and dancing in close proximity with others is very much an at-risk activity.
“They could use up the NHS resources very quickly should they go on to generate a large number of cases in a short period of time.”
He also urged parents to play their part by ensuring they know where their children are spending their time.
Dr Pankhania added: “It is irresponsible behaviour on the part of young adults and also their parents if they know their child is going to such a gathering and not stopping it.”
Police in Birmingham similarly warned “we are still in a pandemic” after being called to more than 70 street and house parties and other unlicensed gatherings in one night.
The city is already on the brink of a local lockdown after it was placed on a watch list following a spike in infections.
The force tweeted that they had dispersed dozens of parties, including one in the city’s Northfield area which included two marquees and a DJ.
They wrote: “Everyone packed up and went home after we arrived. Please understand we are still in a pandemic.”
In Huddersfield police broke up an illegal rave involving about 300 people.
West Yorkshire Police tweeted that its officers were called out to the gathering in Deighton, where missiles were then thrown at them.
The force said the music was “quickly turned off” and the crowd was dispersed, a move “met by applause from local residents”.
There were similar scenes in Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, when crowds gathered around the DJ’s booth.
In London the Met Police confirmed it has responded to more than 1,000 illegal events since the end of June.
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Fines of up to £10,000 for organisers of illegal events involving 30 or more people will come into force on Friday, ahead of the bank holiday this weekend.
Participants will continue to be issued with fines of £100, while those who have already been fined will see the penalty double on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council has warned that forces will continue to increase patrols heading into the weekend.
Commander Ade Adelekan, lead for unlicensed music events, said: “These events are hosted without regard for the safety of those attending, and police have observed cases of anti-social behaviour, sales of drugs and gang activity.
“To the organisers of this sort of activity, I strongly advise that you seriously consider the risks you’re creating for everyone in attendance and the wider community.
“There is a risk of prosecution for those who organise these events and equipment will be seized.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We will continue to crack down on the small minority who think they are above the law.”