Three people have been arrested after a 500-year-old church was trashed during an illegal New Year’s Eve party attended by hundreds of revellers.
All Saints Church in East Horndon, Essex, was left with more than £1,000 worth of damage as ravers turned it into a party venue with a bar, DJ decks and Portaloos.
Parishoners said they were ‘devastated’ by the damage caused and estimated the bill for repairs to the Grade II* listed building could cost four figures. Essex Police said officers had been threatened and had objects thrown at them while trying to shut the event down.
Essex is currently in tier four of coronavirus restrictions and people were told to stay at home for New Year’s Eve. Astrid Gillespie, a volunteer for the Friends of All Saints, said she was ‘just trying to get her head round the news’, having found out via a Facebook post on New Year’s Day.
‘I went up there and the police were still there packing up the equipment that they seized,’ she said. ‘There were hundreds of people there, it sounded like it was a ticketed event. It was a professional set-up, they’d hired Portaloos – they’re still there. ‘They had a bar area where you had to exchange tokens, so they must have been selling drinks tokens.