Police bust ‘illegal rave’ that turns out to be pensioners queuing for COVID jabs

Police in the UK have swooped in to bust what they thought was an illegal rave, only to find orderly queues of pensioners waiting for their COVID-19 vaccine.

According to The Daily Mail, three police cars showed up to the Essex Freemasons’ Saxon Hall in Southend-on-Sea, after locals reported an illegal party.

However, the party turned out to be dozens of 80- and 90-year-olds waiting patiently for their COVID jabs.

“It was really funny when the police arrived, as they had been notified that there was a ‘rave’ taking place at Saxon Hall – only to find 80 and 90 year-olds on wheelchairs, zimmer frames and walking sticks, patiently queueing for their vaccinations,” Dennis Baum, chairman of Saxon Hall, told The Daily Mail.

“Grumpy old men and grumpy old women were in abundance. Nevertheless, as a balancing act, many more very appreciative people couldn’t have been more grateful to receive the vaccine and to Saxon Hall and the Freemasons for facilitating it.”

Baum said police left then came back in the afternoon to help, adding that the first patient arrived at 7:10am for an 8:30am appointment.

“The Astra-Zeneca vaccine was expected, but the Pfizer one arrived, but not until 9:10am, and then not in enough quantity. So, the congestion commenced, and then got worse when they ran out of vaccine, and there was an hour’s delay in getting more,” he said.

“It was absolute chaos and very cold. The car park became choc-a-bloc with 80-year-old-plus drivers.”

The locals’ concerns stemmed from a number of illegal raves hosted in Essex, including a New Year’s Eve rave that saw a 500-year-old church trashed.

A spokesperson for Essex police told The Daily Mail that when they receive reports of people “clearly and flagrantly breaking the rules, we will respond”.

“Upon receiving reports of congestion at the vaccination centre, a unit responded to offer help with traffic management, and returned later that day to check that everything was progressing smoothly for those getting their jabs,” police said.

“No one wants to see all of our communities getting the jab and being protected more than us at Essex Police, particularly our elderly and vulnerable communities, and we will do all we can to support that.”

Featured image source: iStock/K Neville