Thermal-imaging video, shot from a National Police Air Service (NPAS) helicopter, shows people leaving an illegal rave near Warrington, Cheshire, and spilling onto a live railway line, forcing a passenger train to stop.
The footage, taken during a multi-agency response to the incident, shows around 300 people gathered on the site near the border of Glazebury, adjacent to a live railway line on the night of Saturday 31 October.
Attendees are seen to make their way on the tracks during the event and at one point disrupt the journey of a passing train.
Despite police advice, many people made off from the event via the Manchester to Liverpool railway line, with officers working alongside Network Rail and British Transport Police (BTP) to mitigate the dangers posed to the group.
Officers were notified of an unlicensed music event taking place at 20:45 by the owner of the farm, who had returned to the 320-acre site to find a large number of people gathered there with music equipment and loud music playing.
A large co-ordinated response took place, led by Greater Manchester Police – supported by the Force’s dedicated operation for large-scale COVID breaches – with assistance from Cheshire Police, British Transport Police, NPAS and Network Rail.
Despite police advice, many people made off on foot across the railway tracks while trains were still active in the area.
Two men were arrested and one woman was treated by emergency services for injuries not believed to have been caused in suspicious circumstances. Seven police vehicles were targeted and had their tyres slashed while officers searching the site found a machete in an area of bushes.
Assistant Chief Constable Nick Bailey said: “Today we have released helicopter footage of the unlicensed music event in Wigan where hundreds gathered and many put themselves in danger by attending this in such dangerous terrain and put their loved ones in danger by the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
“It was shameful to see so many in attendance and for groups of attendees to make their way onto the tracks of a live railway and put themselves in further danger. The memory of the illegal events in Carrington and Daisy Nook earlier this year serves as a reminder of the difficulties posed to emergency services in accessing these locations when needed.
“Not everyone attends these events with the same intentions; this was demonstrated by the recovery of a machete in some bushes at the site and it is fortunate that no further serious criminal activity took place.
“Our focus on the night was to safely disperse those there and maintain order; now we are determined to identify and bring to account those who organised this event and who put so many people in danger by their reckless actions – we are confident retrospective action will follow.
“I would also like to thank the owner of the site for swiftly informing police of this event and being cooperative with us since. He was left with a totally unacceptable amount of litter and damage caused to some of his site which put his livestock in danger.
“I urge anyone with information about this gathering to contact police with the knowledge that we are channelling all our efforts into finding the organisers responsible for this and ensuring that justice is served.”