Spate of arrests at Appleby Horse Fair after mass brawl

  • A spate of arrests took place over the weekend (6-7 June) at Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria.

    The fair (4-10 June) is the largest annual gathering of Romany gypsies and travellers in Britain and attracts nearly 400,000 visitors to the area.

    Fifty-three people were arrested between 8am on Saturday (6 June) and 8am Sunday (7 June).

    And 27 of those were arrested in connection with a mass brawl that broke out between two rival gangs at 5am on Sunday.

    One man was taken to Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle with head injuries.

    A further seven were arrested in connection with the incident on Sunday. All have now been released on bail.

    Nearly 60 whips were confiscated in the same time period and 36 fines issued for various traffic and low-level public disorder offences.

    Other arrests were related to violence, drug and alcohol offences. And on Friday (5 June), police recovered counterfeit goods with a street value of £250,000.

    Chief superintendent Steve Johnson, who was in charge of the Appleby Fair policing operation, said: “Our officers are continuing to work hard to provide proportionate enforcement of the law.

    “Saturday was our busiest night and things have quietened down noticeably overnight with people now beginning to make their way home.”

    In relation to the brawl Chief Supt Johnson said: “Early intervention by our officers neutralised the situation and avoided what could have turned into a significant incident of disorder at an isolated location outside the town.

    “Our officers were faced with violence and a community that did not want to engage. Officers dealt with the situation in a firm and fair manner under difficult circumstances.

    “Our message is clear — violent behaviour will not be tolerated in Cumbria and we will respond to disorder proportionately and robustly.”

    Last week the RSPCA announced it was doubling the number of staff at the event to 20 to provide round-the-clock presence.

    RSPCA officers gave animal health advice to 47 people and issued six formal warnings.

    RSPCA chief inspector Rob Melloy said: “Nobody likes the rain but from an animal welfare point of view it was very good news indeed.

    “There were fewer people taking horses into the river, the horses on the ‘flashing lane’ were going at a slower and safer pace and of course there was no danger of a repeat of the two dogs which died in a hot car last year.

    “We had a very visible presence and people were coming to us with anything they were concerned about, which is something we’re really keen to promote.”

    One horse was put down after being hurt in accident.

    A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “A horse came into us with a bad tendon injury. After explaining the nature of it to the owner they decided to sign it over into our care. Despite veterinary treatment its condition deteriorated and sadly it had to be euthanised.”

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