Police moved on more than 200 people gathering for an illegal rave in woodland last night.
A helicopter was scrambled from the National Police Air Service as officers broke up revellers at Eston, on Teesside, around midnight.
Brits enjoyed their first night out in nearly four months as lockdown restrictions were eased in England, allowing pubs and restaurants to reopen, dubbed “Super Saturday”.
But Cleveland Constabulary said the unlicensed music event placed a “burden” on the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Superintendent Emily Harrison said: “This incident is unacceptable and we won’t tolerate illegal raves happening in Cleveland.
“Raves like these pose potential safety concerns for those attending, they are illegal and attending such an event places an unnecessary burden on our NHS colleagues who have been working hard to try to keep us all safe during the ongoing pandemic.”
Sgt Paul Higgins said revellers had been arriving in taxis for the planned rave, despite police issuing warnings on social media for people not to attend.
“It’s the first night of the pubs opening so we weren’t expecting to get an illegal music party,” he said.
“We found a number of people here. There hadn’t been anything set up yet with any music or equipment but they’ve been dispersed.”
Police have dealt with scores of illegal raves across the country in the past month. Two “quarantine raves” in Greater Manchester saw 6,000 attendees, a 20-year-old man die from a suspected drug overdose, an 18-year-old woman raped and three stabbed.
As lockdown was eased again on Saturday, John Apter, the chair of the Police Federation for England and Wales, tweeted after his late shift in Southampton city centre hitting out at “naked men, fights and angry drunks”, as pockets of trouble flared.
“What was crystal clear is that drunk people can’t/won’t socially distance,” he said.
In central London, streets in Soho were crammed with crowds of people well into the early hours of Sunday, defying social distancing rules and the ban on mass gatherings.
Elsewhere in the country, there were reports of trouble in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire that saw some pubs close early.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning praised people for “very largely” behaving, but redoubled his call for drinkers to “enjoy summer safely”.