Police are appealing for information following an illegal car cruising event in the Denton area of Tameside.
Officers first became aware of the event after receiving reports at around 2pm on Sunday, July 19 from members of the public about a large gathering involving vehicles on an industrial estate off Windmill Lane.
Responding officers attended the scene and monitored the situation.
Due the risk of public order being potentially increased by intervening and dispersing the event – as well as patrols responding to in excess of 90 incidents across the district – officers continued to survey the scene.
An investigation into the organisation of the event is underway. No arrests have yet been made and enquiries are ongoing.
Superintendent Jane Higham, of GMP’s Tameside district, said: “The scenes that were posted on social media of the car event in Denton were quite frankly unacceptable and we are committed to finding out how this incident came to be.
“The disruption caused by the large gathering of people and the volume of traffic wreaked havoc across some of the main routes in the town and impacted the nearby motorway network. This disregard for the rest of the public is shocking and will not be tolerated.
“While I completely understand and empathise with the many people affected by this event and concerned with our response, it is important to recognise that we only became aware of the event once it had begun and the risk posed to our officers and the wider public by trying to intervene after this was considerably enhanced.
“This weekend on the Tameside district an illegal rave was prevented from taking place after our officers responded to public-led intelligence; what we need to continue to ensure is that anyone with information about such large illegal gatherings contacts us with any details they have so that we can enforce police powers before they escalate into events that are complex and unsafe to try and repress.
“We have met with the local authority to debrief the incident and are planning how we take preventative measures in the future as well as identifying and taking to task those involved in coordinating this event.
“In the meantime, I urge anyone with information about this event or future events of this nature to contact police via 101 or online immediately.”
Andrew Gwynne, MP for Denton and Reddish, said: “I was absolutely appalled by the disgraceful and extremely dangerous behaviour witnessed at Windmill Lane.
“The fact that so many people came from well outside the area – during a pandemic – made this particularly dangerous and caused absolute chaos for the local community.”
Mr Gwynne has written to the Chief Constable for Greater Manchester Police Ian Hopkins, Andy Burnham (Mayor of Greater Manchester and Police & Crime Commissioner) and Bev Hughes (Deputy Mayor for Police) highlighting his concerns.
He wrote: “There was chaos in my constituency when a huge car meet caused massive disruption in Denton.
“I understand that you have a unit looking into illegal events such as this and I want to what the police knew about this and when?
“There have also been posts since bragging about the event and the disruption caused and I’ve attached some screenshots illustrating this.
“I want to know why the convoy from Telford wasn’t stopped before it got to Denton? The crowds were gathering in very close proximity and people had travelled together in vehicles.
“I want to know how many fixed penalty notices for no social distancing were issued and how many arrests were made, and if the answer to that is none, I want to know why not?
“Does JDK Autoworx have any track and trace information for the hundreds of people from all over the UK who attended?
“Were any vehicles confiscated and if not, why not?
“Please can you confirm what action is being taken against JDK Autoworx? They promoted this event and I want to know if they will be prosecuted.
“I am deeply unhappy about what happened and the local community think the police actually aided and abetted this event by allowing it to go on until 10.30pm.
“GMP must now be in line for the most inept police force in the country and the people of Denton would be better paying a precept to the Keystone Cops.”
Anyone with any information should contact police on 101 quoting incident number 1748 of 19/07/2020. Details can also be passed anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.