A 15-year-old boy died after falling ill at an illegal rave in Croydon and another 19-year-old remains in critical condition. The rave led to 14 arrests and six others were hospitalised due to various injuries.
The two teenagers’ identities have not been revealed, and a post-mortem has yet to be performed. The Croydon Advertiser reports: “Police believe he drank from a bottle of beer they think contained ketamine, an illegal party drug”.
Party-goers launched fire extinguishers and furniture at the police after officers attempted to stop additional people from entering the building. In an attempt to avoid additional injury and chaos, the police were instructed to withdraw from the building.
The illegal rave was not halted until the following morning when the police entered the premises at 8:30am.
Police noticed a crowd of a few hundred people at the disused Royal Mail sorting office on Cherry Orchard Road after 9pm on Saturday during a routine patrol. The crowd at the building, located opposite East Croydon Station, doubled in a matter of 30 minutes, swelling to an estimated 1,000 people.
Councillor Tony Newman said. “I would like to reassure residents the illegal rave which took place in Croydon overnight has been contained, and thanks to the efforts of the police there were no serious injuries to contend with.”
Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell wrote on his blog: “Were additional police resources requested quickly enough and were they despatched quickly enough? For many of my constituents, this incident will have uncomfortable parallels with the 2011 riots where officers quickly found themselves wholly outnumbered.”
Newman added, “Thankfully unlicensed raves are very rare in our borough and we will be working with our partners to make sure such a situation does not happen here again.”
The arrests made were in relation to violence, drugs and money laundering with investigations continuing to look into other suspects from evidence found at the scene.
Seven other people were treated at the scene for injuries and tramline services have been disrupted at East Croydon Station.
Discussions are in place between Croydon Council and Royal Mail on the building’s security. The mail facility was closed earlier this year after receiving planning permission to be converted into flats.