A CROWD of people were dispersed from an old church after attempts were made to organise an illegal rave.

Neighbours from homes near the decommissioned Garrison Chapel, in Chapel Road, Shoebury, were forced to call the police after about 30 people congregated and a professional sound system had been set up on Saturday night.

An advert for the event, seen by the Echo, suggested a £5 donation on the door and promised to be the “most ambitious party in Southend history”.

One witness, who has asked to remain anonymous, said: “Police were called to disperse people from the church and surrounding area.

“Southend Council also sent down environmental health officers to deal with the noise.

“The police sent about seven cars, including unmarked ones, and they were roaring up and down trying to catch people running away from the church.

“This resulted in what sounded like a massive fight near Sainsbury’s.

“The noise was horrendous and woke up my young daughter who was trying to sleep.”

Police confirmed they were in attendance and dispersed a crowd from a disused church using powers under Section 63 of the Public Order act.

Special constable Alex Penn said on Twitter: “Dispersal of a crowd from an illegal rave in a disused church.”

An Essex Police spokesman said: “Police were called to reports of an unauthorised event at a building at around 9.15pm on Saturday, January 27.

“Officers attended and found around 30 people inside, who were asked to leave.

“Police remained on scene to monitor the situation until about 11.20pm.

“The group were dispersed quickly by our officers and no arrests were made.”

Councillor Tony Cox said: “Environmental health officers attended Shoebury Garrison on Saturday evening with Essex Police.

“On arrival the unlicensed event had not yet started, although there was sound equipment inside.

“The organisers were given advice from both police and council officers and decided not to go ahead with their event.”