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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 August 2006, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Officers injured in rave clashes
Great Chesterford
Police clearing the site on Sunday morning
Violence flared as police tried to break up an illegal rave involving up to 600 revellers on farmland in Essex.

Police said an officer suffered a severed fingertip, a patrol car was burnt out and missiles were thrown during clashes at Great Chesterford.

Nine officers were hurt, with injuries including head wounds and a leg wound, Essex Police said.

Two revellers suffered head injuries, and 35 were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to cause a public nuisance.

Describing what he saw, one reveller told BBC News that the police were in riot gear and were "heavy-handed".

"They came and surrounded the first sound system and then got closer and closer until it turned into a proper confrontation and they started beating people," he said.

Public safety and upholding the law were paramount so Essex Police mounted a controlled operation
Essex Police

He claimed that one person had an eye injured during a clash.

Essex Police did not respond to the claims. An Essex Ambulance Service spokesman confirmed that two party-goers were taken to hospital, one with an eye injury.

At one point 40 revellers attempted to cross the nearby M11 motorway on foot, police said.

Missiles thrown

Emergency roadblocks were erected and the motorway speed limit reduced to 40mph.

One lane of the M11 was kept closed for much of Sunday which resulted in tailbacks stretching more than ten miles at one point.

Forces from Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Hertfordshire were involved in the operation.

The landowner had not given permission for the party and it had no entertainment licence.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said police were still clearing the site on Sunday morning.

She said: "Police have powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to take positive action against such events.

"Public safety and upholding the law were paramount, so Essex Police mounted a controlled operation throughout yesterday to clear the site.

"This involved initially blocking the entrance to the farm to ensure that no more people joined the event."

The officer with the severed fingertip was treated at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, while two others were taken to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes from the site of the illegal rave



SEE ALSO
Officers injured in rave disorder
26 Aug 06 |  Gloucestershire
Action to prevent illegal raves
25 Aug 06 |  Suffolk

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