CentreForce Radio 88.3 and the Acid House Gangster

On Tuesday 9th of January 1990, London’s Thames TV screened, as part of its Thames Report magazine programme a documentary made by Marcus Powell entitled, “Acid House Gangsta”, which claimed that raves were being forcably taken over by gangs of East End criminals.

One former party organiser, DJ Evenson Allen, claimed that he had been threatened at gunpoint when a gang look over one of his parties and scenes were shown of unofficial security teams muscling in on the entrances and cash offices of clubs and preventing the organisers from getting their share of the takings. Brian Semmens, (the guy behind Labyrinth), claimed that after refusing to pay extortionate fees for security, an armed gang was then allowed in one of his parties to cause absolute mayhem.

The police organised a raid on Echoes nightclub in Bow East London, the gang was suspected of criminal involvement in East End parties and apparently revealed links to the Inter City Firm, a group of former West Ham United football hooligans. An-ex-party organiser who remained anonymous was interviewed, stating that the ICF had split into several groups who were controlling the organisation of several acid parties, they were controlling the doors and supplying the drugs, undercover police film was shown of a party in Kent allegedly the ICF took control by threat of violence and an East End security gang collected £70,000 profits, the party organiser was Richard Robotham a convicted drug dealer who it was claimed by a former partner who remained anonymous, was acting in co-operation with the ICF.

Attention was then turned to London pirate radio station CentreForce 88.3 FM which the program claim was used by the ICF to advertise their parties , and to give false information to Sabotage rival parties and to promote drugs. They allegedly attacked other pirate radio stations in the area including Dance FM, which was staffed by ex-CentreForce DJ’s wanting to break ties with their former ICF backers. One anonymous DJ claimed that, while trying to stop the theft of their transmitter, one of Dance FM DJ’s received a cut to his hand with a Stanley knife, the same DJ also claimed that Walthamstow record shop, Hit “N” Run records run by ex-CentreForce DJ’s was smashed up and the manager beaten up, although this was not actually confirmed by the man himself who also denied the incident ever took place.

Responsible party organisers want to go legal but are not getting co-operation from the authorities and Anton le Pirate of WorldDance claims that, despite complying with police regulations set before them they are still being denied licences, his partner David Rafael said, “if police were involved it would stop the criminal element”, a sentiment echoed by Evenson Allen: “instead of crackdowns, if they (the police) got together with the promoters and allowed later licences in Clubs, instead of driving it into the hands of the villains”.

The government is still taking steps to crack down on “acid parties” and scenes were shown of party-goers being held up by the police blockades and shouting, “let the people dance”, Brian Reynolds assistant Chief Constable of the (acid house unit) in Gravesend was asked, why reasonable party organisers with being arrested while the ones causing trouble was going untouched, he said “at the moment it’s a matter of securing evidence”. When asked why the police didn’t work with organisers so as to target drug traffickers he said, “we are involved in conventional investigations- seeing witnesses, getting exhibits but as Evenson Allen points out, “the police should target criminal gangs, not take action against the ravers or promoters.

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The Gaffer

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