A CRIMINAL investigation has been launched into an illegal rave at Corfe Castle.

Police last night gained full control of the area and the music was turned off.

Officers are set to remain in the area throughout today.

The illegal rave was first reported at 10.40pm on Saturday.

It is believed that around 1,500 people attended the event and around 500 vehicles are also present in the area.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan, of Dorset Police, said: “Understandably, we have continued to receive calls from concerned and upset residents in relation to the noise levels coming from the event.

"I can now confirm that our officers have control of the site and the music has been turned off.

“I would like to reassure residents that we continue to work with our partner agencies to deal with the site and those who remain, to ensure we bring the event to a safe conclusion.

“We have had officers visibly at the location since the initial reports and officers will remain on the site until the area is clear, which is likely to be overnight and into Monday. I would like to thank those affected by this unlicensed event for their patience.

“Police officers gave a direction for people to leave the scene earlier today using powers under the Public Order Act.

"However, due to the large-scale nature of the event and the impacts of dispersing those present, as well as minimising any risk to the wider public on our road networks, this can take some time.

“A criminal investigation has been launched to ensure those found to be responsible for organising such events are prosecuted.

“It is our priority that we ensure that unlicensed events such as these are brought to a safe conclusion and there is no further disruption in the local community.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank officers and staff from Dorset Police, as well as officers who have supported from other South West police forces, for their continued professionalism, hard work and public service, many of whom have been kept on duty working extended hours to protect the communities we serve.”