CHESHIRE Police has urged residents not to attend illegal raves after receiving intelligence of such events being planned in the county this weekend.

The force says that it has only had a ‘handful’ of such incidents to date.

But it is ‘aware of intelligence to suggest that people may be planning further events this weekend’, and officers will be ‘actively monitoring’ several locations as a result.

Superintendent Julie Westgate said: “We know that young people want to go out and socialise with friends, but people need to do this legally and safely.

“Coronavirus has not gone away, and people attending illegal raves are not only putting their own lives at risk – they are also risking the lives of their friends, family and loved ones.

“I would urge anyone who is planning to attend such an event to think twice.

“We have a dedicated policing operation in place and we will take every step we can to stop them before they happen.

“Our teams will be patrolling key locations across the county and they will act on any intelligence they receive regarding any possible events.

“Officers will continue to use common sense and discretion to determine what is reasonable, with officers engaging, explaining, encouraging and only as a last resort enforcing.

“However, proportionate action will be taken if necessary and this could include the seizure of any music equipment, arrest or even prosecution.”

Gatherings of more than 30 people are still banned in the UK despite social distancing regulations having been eased.

Cheshire police and crime commissioner David Keane added: “I understand that it's been a difficult time for everyone, particularly young people who have been unable to socialise with friends due to coronavirus.

“However, coronavirus has not gone away and we all have a duty to ourselves and each other to stay safe, protect the NHS and save lives.

“I would urge anyone who is thinking of hosting or attending an illegal rave in Cheshire to stay away.”