Rutland Showground descended into chaos after thousands of travelers arrived at the Light and Life Church convention which began on Saturday, June 19. Residents complained that participants in caravans and motorhomes were causing disruption and breaking Covid rules.
One resident tweeted: “Our little county of Rutland currently has thousands of travelers in our exhibition area. There was looting, fighting, drag racing, intimidation, threats and our pubs / shops closed early to protect staff. “
Another said: “The chaos on the roads, reckless driving, overtaking on the main street, not to mention breaking all of the Covid rules. Which idea to approve?
A third added: “I am currently inside a locked McDonald’s and see firsthand the bullying that is happening towards staff. The manager told me that some of the staff had been spat out with threats from Covid and their building had been broken into. I just heard of a young man carrying a blade.
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Leicestershire Police have confirmed the event is ‘legally permitted’ and will run until June 25. Superintendent Adam Slonecki said, “We can confirm that we have received information from local residents regarding anti-social behavior. With the permission of the organizer, we will participate in the event regularly and continue to engage with the event coordinator to ensure they are safe from Covid.
“We would like to reassure residents that we have additional foot patrols, a dedicated traffic police car and a team of specialized drones operating in the area. In addition, local agents will collaborate with local businesses and licensed premises. We continue to work with spectators and event organizers to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum. “
Rutland MP Alicia Kearns said she was “deeply saddened” and “disgusted” by the events. She said: “I have asked for a significant increase in the police presence. I also asked what measures are in place if we see continued violations of Covid restrictions by event attendees. “
Kevin Tighe, CEO of Rutland Agricultural Society, said a risk assessment was carried out prior to the event, which covered issues such as Covid risks, and said it was being implemented “to the best of its ability. knowledge”.
He added that the outdoor event was self-contained and did not use any on-site facilities across the 45-acre fields. He said the event was run by 90 pastors and supported by 40 stewards.
Mr Tighe also insisted that this was a “minority” of participants causing “a disproportionate amount of anti-social activity”.