The local police of the Rhode & Schelde zone, with the support of a special police unit from Antwerp, stopped a rave party on the former VRV site on Saturday morning. At its peak there were about 200 attendees, many of whom appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
“In the night from Friday to Saturday, an illegal rave party started at the former VRV site, approximately 6 hectares in size, in Scheldewindeke,” says Mayor Johan Van Durme (CD&V). “At its peak, there were at least two hundred people there, mainly French, judging by the number plates. It was local residents who noticed the noise, but by the time we knew what was happening, it was already morning. Our people from the local police were on site and there were at least 150 people present. Many appeared to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs.”
Because the local police did not consider it safe to inspect the site with six people, the help of a federal unit from Antwerp was called in. “Those forty federal agents arrived on the scene fairly quickly and the site was cordoned off so that no one could enter or leave,” says Van Durme. “This was followed by a sweep of the entire site. In addition to checking the identity of everyone present, they also searched for drugs. Those present who tried to flee were traced with a drone. No one could escape”
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The police and mayor do not tolerate such antisocial behavior
Both the organizer and the DJ could be arrested. The police confiscated all material, including a power group. Reports were drawn up because the event was not permitted, noise pollution, drug use and possession: “Some could no longer stand on their feet and had to stay on the site until they sobered up again.”
“Both the citizens of the neighborhood and myself are very happy that the police have made it clear that society does not tolerate such antisocial excesses,” says Van Durme. “Those people come to have fun at the expense of others. In addition to a lot of time, the deployment of such a police unit also costs society a lot of money. Time and money that could be put to better use.”
The former VRV site is owned by the Ministry of Agriculture. Cattle inspections used to take place, but the site has been empty for a long time. The municipality would like to purchase the site and use the space for sports and youth clubs.
Two years ago the building was the victim of squatters. About twenty men occupied the building at the time. “They kept themselves busy building fires and the like. We also took action against that,” concludes Mayor Van Durme.