The organisers of an illegal rave which attracted hundreds of people last night, in breach of lockdown rules, have claimed they tried to clean up but were prevented from doing so.

In a post shared on Instagram, the rave organisers said that more people turned up than they expected and that they had planned on cleaning up the mess but police "arrested people cleaning".

Organisers also insisted that they did not tell people to say they were Black Lives Matter protesters, as some reports suggested, and instead said the rave "protested isolation".

Police at the scene after a rave in Rainford

Local residents took to social media to complain about the rubbish, alcohol containers and evidence of drug misuse left at the site, which is now being cleaned up by the local authority

The message, posted by @hidendimension_ said: "Firstly we didn't expect the turn out!

"We was (sic) not expecting this many people to come. We always clean our mess. The toilets and other parts of the location were already ruined.

"We cleaned up before we started and planned on cleaning up after but the police arrested the people cleaning.

Placards left at the scene of the rave

"We did not use BLM, we protested isolation. We and everyone who came may not agree with you, but does everyone always?"

The mass gathering is thought to have taken place on land off New Cut Lane on the border of Kirkby and Rainford.

Police blocked routes to the site and turned away around 200 people who were on foot and in cars.

Officers also said they dealt with 12 people for drugs offences and a further 15 were given Covid-19 tickets.

The aftermath of a rave in the Rainford area. Pic credit to Kirkby news and information. @Kirkbyinfo

At around 5.30am, when most people had left, four men were seen by officers packing up DJ equipment.

They were arrested on suspicion of Section 5 public order offences, causing a public nuisance and were provided with dispersal order notices.

Police said they have been taken into custody and DJ equipment, lighting and lasers seized.

The rave appears to have taken place on land belonging to Paintball Airsoft Lasertag in deep countryside.

Gas cannisters near scene of the rave

The owners of the site declined to comment.

Earlier on Saturday, a police spokesman said: "We arrested four men and seized DJ equipment after attending a wooded area in Rainford overnight following reports of an illegal rave.

"Police identified the site of the gathering which occurred in private land near New Cut Lane/Coach Road, close to Rainford, the M58 and Kirkby.

"Officers were deployed to key routes into the woodland, including roads and rural land, as a large number of young people were seen on the site and attempting to gain entrance from around 8pm. Police turned away around 200 people in vehicles and on foot.

"The East Lancs Road was closed at its junctions with Catchdale Moss Lane and Coopers Lane to deter further attendees from gaining access in vehicles, and a dispersal order was introduced covering the area of woodland.

"At around 5.30am, when the majority of people had dispersed, four males were seen by officers packing up DJ equipment.

"They were arrested on suspicion of Section 5 public order offences, causing a public nuisance and were provided with dispersal order notices. They have been taken into custody and DJ equipment, lighting and lasers seized.

"A further 15 dispersal notices were provided, 12 people dealt with for drugs offences, 10 dispersal zone notices issued, and 15 Covid-19 tickets issued."