'No crime, so no action,' say police called to 'rave'
POLICE were called to a late-night party on land in Mid Devon where a couple were refused planning permission to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle.
Three officers were called to Muxbeare Orchard, Willand, owned by Stig and Dinah Mason, at around 11.40pm following a report of a "rave" on Saturday, August 20.
A spokesperson for Devon & Cornwall Police said no crime had been committed and the volume of the music was reduced immediately on request.
PCSO Adrian Legg said: "Officers arrived and ask them to turn the music down and no offences were committed so, for us, that was the end of the matter.
"We have only had one report of a party in the history of that location since 1994."
Mr and Mrs Mason spent at least a year transforming what was a neglected four-acre plot into a smallholding with chickens and a 400 sq m allotment.
They say there is a need for them to live on site because the orchard, polytunnels and chickens need tending to on a daily basis.
It is a dream of theirs to live a sustainable lifestyle by growing their own food and selling on the surplus, but planning and enforcement officers for Mid Devon District Council do not believe there is justification to allow residential use of agricultural land.
A court order was also served on the land in order to prevent unlawful habitation.
Jonathan Guscott, head of planning for the district council, told the Gazette in June: "While some would like the Masons to stay living on the land, we are under pressure from other residents and the parish council, who expect us to take action. We get monthly reports of people trying to set up homes on land where they shouldn't and, if ignored, the impact on the countryside would be significant."
The couple are appealing the council's decision to refuse planning permission to build a dwelling on site and an informal hearing will be held at Tiverton Town Hall on Wednesday, September 14.
The Gazette has been unable to contact the Masons and it is not yet clear whether they were hosting the party.
A resident, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: "There was continuous thumping music and they had fireworks between 10.10pm and 10.30pm – we are not happy down here at all."
A spokesperson for Mid Devon District Council said: "The County Court injunction prohibits the use of the land for residential purposes.
"We have been made aware of the social gatherings by concerned neighbours and are currently assessing whether there are any court order implications and we will monitor the situation."
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