AN illegal rave which saw hundreds of people descend on a village near Devizes caused traffic chaos and left a huge clean up job of debris including needles, cannisters and balloons used for taking nitrous oxide.

Police estimate that about 500 people and around 100 cars arrived under the cover of darkness at Pear Tree Hill, Great Cheverell during the early hours of Sunday morning for the music event which had been advertised on closed internet forums.

Two men were arrested on drug and theft charges.

A farmer who rents the land from the MOD said: "There were cars all over the place blocking the lane. At one point an ambulance tried to go up but couldn't get through. The mess that has been left is dreadful. There are needles and cannisters obviously used for taking drugs.

"But there are also bottles, cans and packaging just strewn around all the way along the road."

He said he didn't realise the illegal rave was on until around 6am on Sunday. He said: "The wind was in the other direction so we didn't hear any noise in the night. But the music was still going on and a lot of people seemed to be just wandering around out of it."

Parish council clerk Chris Hall, whose house is the closest property to the rave, said illegal gatherings were regular occurrence on the land which includes old farm buildings used for military exercises.

He said the parish council would discuss the issue on Monday but said in the past pleas to the police for more help to stop and manage the raves had not been successful.

A police spokesman said: "We were called at around 1.30am on Sunday morning after approximately 100 vehicles and 400-500 people had gathered for an illegal rave.

"A 30-year-old man from Abergavenny was arrested on suspicion of drug driving and theft and has since been released under investigation while a 28-year-old man from Abergavenny was arrested on suspicion of theft of gas canisters.

"Officers were in attendance and monitored the situation throughout the night – the group disbanded by lunch time the following day."

Sgt Pete Foster said: “We were initially alerted to this incident by officers patrolling the area, as opposed to a call from members of the public. By this time, in excess of 100 vehicles and 400 people were at the scene for what was clearly a pre-planned event, therefore it would have required significant police resources to disperse the crowd, diverting those officers away from a number of serious incidents across the county.

"A risk assessment was carried out which determined there was a low immediate impact on the local community and a decision was therefore taken not to move the crowd on and instead, monitor the situation throughout the night. Two people were subsequently arrested.

"We understand the inconvenience and negative impact this incident has had on those living nearby and we would encourage landowners to ensure their land is secure to help prevent incidents of this nature taking place in future.”