Tyne & Wear

Tyne Bridge rave 'put hundreds in danger'

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Media captionTyne Bridge illegal rave "put hundreds in grave danger"

An illegal rave inside a tower of the Tyne Bridge put "hundreds of people in grave danger", a councillor has said.

Police had to use cutting equipment after revellers barricaded themselves into the granite structure, which houses a lift shaft, on New Year's Eve.

"In an emergency it would have been impossible to get out or launch a rescue," Newcastle City Council's Nick Kemp said.

Officers are still attempting to trace the event organisers.

Members of the public raised the alarm at 01:50 GMT on New Year's Day and the structure was evacuated when police finally gained access.

Nitrous oxide - also known as "laughing gas" - was found inside as well as alcohol and thousands of pounds worth of sound equipment.

Image copyright Newcastle City Council
Image caption Canisters of nitrous oxide were found
Image copyright Newcastle City Council
Image caption Balloons used to inhale laughing gas were among the drug paraphernalia
Image copyright Newcastle City Council
Image caption Empty cans and bottles were strewn across the building

Up to 300 people were estimated to have been in attendance.

"I can understand the appeal of an illegal rave, but the organisers must have known they were potentially putting hundreds of people in grave danger," said Mr Kemp.

"I shudder to think what could have happened if a fire had broken out. It's extremely worrying that the doors to the tower had been secured shut from the inside.

"Alcohol and nitrous oxide were found inside the premises which would have further impaired people's ability to get out.

"There were no toilets and the electricity supply at the substation had been tampered with and could have gone off at any time plunging the whole place into darkness.

"I wonder how many people actually knew they were locked inside with no means of an escape."

It is believed lights and the sound equipment were smuggled in some time on Saturday.

Northumbria Police said it was working with the council to investigate the incident.

Image copyright Northumbria Police
Image caption It took police half an hour to gain access using cutting equipment
Image copyright Google
Image caption The bridge towers were designed for storage

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