Tyne & Wear

Police break up 'illegal rave' in Tyne Bridge tower

Police force their way into the tower Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption Cutting equipment was used to gain access to the tower

Police had to use cutting equipment to get into a tower of the Tyne Bridge to break up an "illegal rave" involving more than 200 people.

Revellers had barricaded themselves into the granite structure, which houses a lift shaft and stands 120ft (37m) above the River Tyne.

Lights and sound equipment are thought to have been smuggled in some time on Saturday night.

Members of the public raised the alarm at 01:50 GMT on New Year's Day.

Three men in a white van seen parked outside the tower are being sought.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: "Early this morning police disrupted an illegal rave being held in an old lift shaft of the Tyne Bridge in Lombard Street on the Newcastle side of the river.

"The building was quickly evacuated and was secured by police to allow the electricity to be made safe.

"It's believed three men in a white van were seen taking equipment into the tower during the evening on Friday and Saturday. We are keen to trace these man and would ask they, or anyone who knows who they may be, come forward."

Image copyright Google
Image caption The towers are made of granite and were originally designed for storage

The bridge's two towers were built of Cornish granite and originally designed as five-storey warehouses.

Lifts for passengers and goods were built in to provide access to the quayside although they are no longer in use. They are sometimes opened to the public as part of heritage open days.

The bridge, which spans the River Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead, cost £1.2m to build and was opened in 1928 by King George V.

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