REVELLERS at an illegal rave launched missiles at riot police and shut down the M4 near Reading on Saturday.

At 8pm police were called to land off Burghfield Road where they found 300 people dancing and listening to drum and bass music so loud it rattled the windows of a nearby hotel.

When the ravers refused to leave, chaos broke out.

One witness said: “The police were being respectful, they said ‘you can stay until 11.30pm but then you’ve got to leave.’

“Someone grabbed the microphone and started shouting at them.”

Whipped into a frenzy, missiles were launched from the crowd at police.

In response, dog units and five van loads of riot officers wearing crash helmets and brandishing battens and shields were deployed to the field off Berry’s Lane as a helicopter flew overhead.

At one point a wall of officers charged at the crowd.

James Andrews, who was staying at The Reading Lake Hotel, said: “I noticed a large group of people hovering at the bottom of the road when I arrived. At about 10.15pm the helicopters started circling above that woke us up.

“We looked out of the window and police had formed a human barricade at the end of the road and there were so many police cars.”

At the end of the two hour stand-off in which five arrests were made, for offences including attempt to assault police and possession with intent to supply drugs, the ravers began to leave the scene.

The night was not over however, as scores of people surged down the motorway embankment onto the M4.

Officers acted quickly to shut down the road in both directions until the revellers could be marshalled to safety.

Chief Inspector Graham Hadley, said: “This was an event which took place in which members of the public put themselves in danger by taking drugs and going on to the M4 carriageway. Thankfully it was resolved without serious injury.

“Illegal unlicensed music events are dangerous and there is little regard for public safety and we will continue to deal with reports of such events robustly.

“If someone becomes aware of an unlicensed music event taking place (rave) or information about a planned rave then they should report this via our 24-hour enquiry centre 101 or 999 in an emergency. It is an emergency when a crime is being committed, there is a risk of injury, or there is a risk of serious damage to property.”

Michael Richards, aged 29, of London Road, Reading, was charged with one count of failure to leave a rave and was bailed to appear at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 20 December.