THE number of illegal raves held in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has almost halved following a police crackdown.

Hampshire Constabulary officially launched Operation Enigma in May this year.

And during 2013, a total of just 12 reported raves have taken place across the two counties, compared with 22 in 2012.

Superintendent James Fulton, the force lead for Operation Enigma, said: “Since the launch of the operation, our officers have taken a robust approach when confronted with unlicensed music events.

“As a result, it is encouraging to know that the number of raves taking place in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has nearly halved when compared with 2012. It’s even more pleasing when you take into account the good weather that we’ve all enjoyed in recent months.

“Operation Enigma will continue throughout the winter and into next year and anyone thinking about organising an illegal rave should know that we will continue to take a robust approach and that our officers will be seizing even more equipment in 2014 if organisers fail to heed the warnings.”

The operation has ensured that a consistent method is employed to try to prevent the gatherings in the first instance, as well as providing a swift and robust approach when an illegal rave is taking place.

Preventative measures have included reassurance visits to landowners to offer advice on securing their properties, intelligence sharing with neighbouring forces and the issuing of warning letters to the owners of vehicles attending rave sites.

Of the 12 unlicensed music events attended by Hampshire Constabulary in 2013, nine were shut down swiftly as a result of the response from Operation Enigma. On three further occasions, officers used the powers at their disposal to seize equipment.

Three arrests were made across the year, with two people cautioned for carrying out an unauthorised licensable activity contrary to section 136 of the Licensing Act 2003 and one individual charged with obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty.