Off their heads: the shocking return of the rave

With clubs shut, thousands of young people are breaking the Covid-19 rules to attend parties organised on social media – and more are being set up every day

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When Daisy Nook started trending on Twitter on the evening of 13 June, many users of the site thought it was a reference to the popular video game Animal Crossing, which features characters called Daisy and Nook. But Paul Carroll knew better. The 59-year-old police trainer had seen the saucer-eyed teenage girls and lads swigging from cans of beer flooding into Daisy Nook country park, in Greater Manchester, as he took his dogs for a walk that evening. Carroll stared at the revellers in astonishment. Illegal raves simply do not happen in Daisy Nook.

It was not a restful evening. The traffic outside Carroll’s house was relentless, as was the whoosh of the nitrous oxide balloons the young people were huffing as they marched through the country park to the rave site, an empty field accessible from a canal path. Just after midnight, Carroll found a group of young men urinating on his garden wall. Insults were exchanged. “I wasn’t scared,” Carroll says. “I would have given as good as I’d got!” He backtracks. “Well, there were seven of them and I hadn’t got any shoes on.” After that encounter, Carroll’s wife told him to stop going outside. But he couldn’t sleep, so Carroll sat and watching the road, enraged. More cars. More balloons. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

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