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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 May, 2005, 11:21 GMT 12:21 UK
Thousands cause rave woods damage
Bags of rubbish in Denge Wood (Forestry Commission)
Conservationists said the rave damaged a 1km woodland valley
The prospect of raves being staged in the Kent countryside is being investigated by police after one event caused damage to ancient woodland.

The Forestry Commission said Denge Wood, to the south-west of Canterbury, was devastated by as many as 2,000 people at a rave on Saturday night.

Rubbish was left, including a Methadone bottle and needles, and animals and flowers were disturbed.

Kent Police said there was intelligence that other raves were being planned.

A spokesman said: "We're working on that and we will do everything we can in our powers to stop it."

Rare butterfly

The Forestry Commission said more than 25,000 had been spent on restoring Denge Wood over the past 18 months, with a commitment to spend at least 10,000 a year on future maintenance.

The work included creating a habitat for unusual orchids and butterflies, including the rare Duke of Burgundy.

Rubbish strewn around Denge Wood (Forestry Commission)
The sound system was beneath the nest of a lesser spotted woodpecker

Warden Steve McCarthy said the rave had caused "enormous" damage.

"We had a clear-up with six people on it all day, we filled a 12-yard skip full of rubbish," added Mr McCarthy.

Insp Rosco Walford said local police had known of plans to stage a rave in the area.

"It was located but by the time we could get onto the job there was probably in excess of 1,500 people making their way to the venue... the number of people did outweigh the police resources."

Insp Walford said police were not "in the business of stopping people having fun" but had powers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to prevent people going to raves and seize equipment.

He said they would act on new intelligence to avoid a repeat of the environmental damage at Denge Wood.

Police review policing of raves
15 May 05 |  Norfolk
Joint op will halt illegal raves
25 Mar 05 |  Wiltshire

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