BORED youths are shaking off their lockdown frustrations by hosting illegal raves in the middle of the woods, council bosses have warned.

It comes after a whole host of illegal gatherings popped up across south Essex, with Saturday night alone seeing crowds take to both Hockley Woods and Thundersley Glen. 

Police were forced to issue dispersal orders at both events, and party-goers were banned from the zone at Hockley Woods between 10pm Saturday and 8am Sunday morning.

Nearby resident Liam Thomas said he saw at least 50 youths start to leave the site at Thundersley Glen at 3am, after suffering hours of loud screaming and shouting.

The 28-year-old who lives on Kiln Road, Thundersley, said: “I was woke up at 1.30am by the loud noise of a big crowd outside. I could see flashing lights out of the window so I went into the front room to take a closer look and could see a police car at the glen.

“I live opposite and you could see streams of people coming out, at least 50 in the end, many who were drinking and doing drugs. I heard one boy scream how high he was.

“It got louder and louder until more police arrived and they started to leave at 3am. At around 3.30am they had mostly gone, by which point us residents had endured hours of noise. 

“We have elderly neighbours and families round here who must’ve been so scared. It’s very selfish and just disturbing. You can see it is becoming more of a problem, maybe where the clubs aren’t open yet.”

A huge gathering also took place on the seafront in Old Leigh in late June, carrying on into the early hours of the following morning.

Martin Terry, cabinet member for community safety and customer contact, says teams are doing all they can to stop the illegal raves, with officers keeping a close eye on social media to catch out anyone who may be posting details about such events.

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He said: “I think it’s happening because youngsters are getting bored witless given the current circumstances. 

“Rest assured we will keep our eyes and ears open. It’s hard for mass gatherings to be organised like this without plastering it on social media – this is how it was picked up at the weekend.

“It’s worrying – some might think we are ruining the fun, but when you’re intoxicated you’re at higher risk of catching Covid-19. You let your guard down and could take it home to the family.

“You are vulnerable in the middle of the woods at night, it’s not safe. Go to your friends’ back garden and do it responsibly, in a socially distanced way.”

Castle Point Council leader Norman Smith added: “I feel really sorry for the residents who’ve had to deal with this. Any signs of an event like this, we will be informing police straight away. They can take action.”

A spokesperson from Essex Police, said: “We received reports of an illegal rave taking place at Thundersley Glen around 11.15pm on Saturday. 

"A dispersal order was put in place, equipment was seized, and people there left the area.”