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Arrest after two stabbed at Leysdown beach rave

Two people are recovering in hospital after being stabbed at a beach rave while a third man is being questioned by police over the attack.

Police were sent to reports of a large gathering in Leysdown last night where officers reminded people of the government's advice on social distancing.

The crowds of people at a party on Leysdown beach
The crowds of people at a party on Leysdown beach

At 11.55pm reports were received that two people in their 20s had been assaulted.

The pair, who are both from London, were treated by an air ambulance crew and then driven to a hospital in the capital for further treatment.

Their injuries, which are consistent with stab wounds, are described as serious but stable by police.

An air ambulance spokesman said: "Our crew arrived on scene at 12.45am where they treated the patients, who they then accompanied to hospital by road."

A 24-year-old man, also from London, was arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent before being bailed until July 20.

The rave in Leysdown yesterday by drone. Picture: Henry Cooper
The rave in Leysdown yesterday by drone. Picture: Henry Cooper

Senior investigating officer, DI Neil Kimber, said: "This was a serious incident which happened when a large number of people were present and it is important that people with information do get in touch.

"In particular I would like to hear from anyone with drone or mobile phone footage of the incident or the events leading up to it. Your details will remain confidential."

Police were forced to defend their stance after criticism from people online.

Ch Supt Robert Fordham said: "Kent Police was informed that a possible gathering, involving an unknown number of people, was due to take place in Leysdown on the afternoon on June 25.

"In light of this information officers attended the location to monitor the area and where appropriate provided reminders to people of the latest government advice around social distancing and encouraged them to take personal responsibility for adhering to it.

"A team of officers remained in the area for the rest of the evening, carrying out visible patrols and engaged with those in attendance."

No fines were issued during this event.

Witnesses have been reflecting on the events before the stabbing.

Henry Cooper, who owns Elmhurst Caravan Park in Eastchurch, flew his drone over the crowd.

He said: "I came into Leysdown and it was just heaving so I sent the drone up from my mate's house to have a bit of a nosey.

"I heard what happened down there and to be honest with you they didn't look like they were hurting anyone when it first started.

"I've been to Bluewater twice and Tesco. How can you social distance in places like that?

"There was a big police presence down there."

Yvette Cheesman, who lives nearby at Sheppey Beach Villas, said: "I went down to see for myself what was going on and I spoke to a couple of police officers.

"At about 8.30pm it was still light and there were about 40 to 50 people on the beach and you couldn't really hear the sound system."

Talking about the gathering she added: "It was all very good natured.

"If there was trouble it was isolated but there was no ongoing altercations, it was a random one-off thing."

Leysdown Parish Council chairman, Malcolm Pamplin, said he was worried about a second wave of coronavirus cases.

"I think it's awful," he said. "I can understand when you have all this going on and you just want to get in the sun but we're trying to get our village hall open for activities for older people but we can't do that.

"I'm not sure who to blame really. On the other hand they've not destroyed anything so it hasn't affected us very much."

A Swale council spokesman urged people to follow social distancing rules on beaches and take their litter home.

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP, Gordon Henderson, said: "When I heard about it I contacted the police the very next day.

"They told me they weren't able to do anything unless it went past 11pm which is when it becomes an illegal event.

"I've written to the policing minister to suggest that unlicensed music events should be illegal at any time of day.

"Swale Borough Council could also introduce a local bylaw meaning the police could intervene where it happens."

Talking about the stabbing, which followed the event, Mr Henderson added: "These people aren't my constituents and we're lucky that such violent actions are very rare in Sittingbourne and on Sheppey.

"My understanding is the twin stabbing took place almost an hour after the event ended, whilst it might've been a contributing factor it was not a direct cause.

"A proportion of people attending these events might turn to excess drink or drugs which loosens self control which is when these things happen."

Anyone who witnessed the assault or who has information should call police on 01795 419119 with reference 25-2132.

You can also report information anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555111.

Elsewhere 62,000 people descended on two beaches in Margate and Broadstairs and rubbish was left strewn along the seafront.

Read more: All the latest news from Sheppey

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