Belfast Telegraph

Rave organisers told a repeat event could trigger prosecution

By Angela Rainey

Action has been taken by Belfast City Council following a rave hosted in north Belfast on Friday night.

More than 500 clubbers, many said to be drunk and using drugs, gathered at the unlicensed event at a warehouse in Hillview Industrial Estate on Hillview Road, causing a disturbance to nearby residents and business owners.

A heavy police presence was in place with 12 Land Rovers at the event and PSNI officers making a number of arrests for suspected possession of, and dealing, drugs.

Council officials also attended the scene of the "Section 75" gig, declaring the event "unregulated" and served the organiser with a Prohibition Notice and a caution.

Youngsters did not pay a door charge but were obliged to each buy a £10 raffle ticket at the "bring your own bottle" event.

Former Belfast Lord Mayor Brian Kingston said officials from the emergency services again attended the event on Saturday night when a further swell of party-goers was expected at the interface, but instead it drew a small crowd of around 50.

He said: "On the recommendation of Belfast City Council officers, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service officers inspected the premises last night (Saturday). As a result they served a Prohibition Notice and issued a caution to those organising and involved with the event. The notice means that the building is regarded as unfit for purpose and should not be used."

The organisers, who had applied for an entertainment licence but at too short notice, could be subject to prosecution if they breach the Prohibition Notice.

Councillor Kingston added that the council cannot prevent the event from taking place, but has warned the organisers and clubbers that evidence is being gathered for potential future prosecution.

A spokesperson for Olympus Gym, which is adjacent to the rave, has distanced itself from the event.

"We have absolutely nothing to do with last night's event," a spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Olympus Gym is a self-sustained business that rents space off the Hillview Road site.

"The gym was closed by 11pm and we have CCTV evidence to support this. There was nothing going on in the gym after this point. We cannot be held responsible for what other businesses and organisations do on the site, it has categorically nothing to do with us."

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