Updated: Jun 21, 2021
Leicestershire Police have guaranteed extra patrols at a religious festival taking place in Oakham.
Yesterday we reported that an event, between Rutland Showground and Light and Life, has prompted complaints from local residents and businesses.
Supt Adam Slonecki, from Leicestershire Police's Specialist Support Team said: "We can confirm we have received information from local residents in Oakham and Rutland in relation to anti-social behaviour in the area. This relates to a private event which is a legally authorised event on private land between Light and Life and Rutland Showground. With permission from the organiser we will be regularly going into the event and continue to engage with the event co-ordinator to ensure they are covid safe."
The Oakham Showground in Rutland at the centre of the complaints. Image: Google.
He continued: "We would like to reassure residents that we have extra foot patrols, a dedicated roads policing car and a specialist drone team operating in the area. In addition, local officers will be engaging with local businesses and licenced premises.
We continue to work with the event goers and organisers to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum."
Rutland Police tweeted on Sunday evening offering assurance to local residents. They said: "We are being supported by officers from Melton as well as special constables, the Road Policing Unit and Tactical Support Team throughout the night and upcoming days."
Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns has kept residents updated on the situation and raised her concerns over the weekend.
In a statement on Twitter on Sunday afternoon she said: "I’m deeply saddened and frankly disgusted by the criminal behaviour reported around Oakham and Barleythorpe over the last 24 hours. I’ve spent yesterday evening and this morning speaking to the Showground, Police, RCC and our Police and Crime Commissioner to make our concerns known. We are working together to support and protect residents, but this is a police matter and decisions and powers sit with them."
Rutland and Melton MP Alicia Kearns has requested a significant increase in police presence. Photo: Alicia Kearns.
Facebook comments on Saturday evening were urging the Member of Parliament to do more.
She added: "I’ve requested a significant increase in police presence. I’ve also asked what measures are in place if we see continued breaches of COVID restrictions from attendees of the event. More units and more patrols are out today, Police increased their presence yesterday evening & today an increased police presence from Leicestershire will be supporting residents & visiting businesses to understand what they witnessed or experienced yesterday & concerns they have so that policing can meet those needs. If you witness a crime, it is very important that you please report it using 101, or 999 if an emergency. An event like this can only be closed down if it breaches COVID regulations consistently or if continued criminality takes place."
Facebook comments on Saturday evening were suggesting some of the visitors to the event were not sticking to Covid-19 Guidelines.
One person wrote: "So I have just been to BP garage to get some things and not amused with the behaviour in the shop by these guys. No masks being worn being abusive to staff. Not ok!"
A photograph on Facebook showing the scale of the event in Oakham. Image Credit: Katy Anderson
Another commented: "Repeated aggressive driving in and out of the show ground entrances half way up the bypass and on Langham Road near the roundabout with visitors driving into head on traffic forcing them to stop so they can enter and leave."
Some businesses in the county reportedly closed earlier on Saturday evening with some choosing not to open on Sunday for safety reasons.
Rutland Agricultural Society, who operate the Rutland Showground and gave permission for the event to go ahead, updated residents on Facebook on Saturday evening. They said: "We are currently hosting a religious festival on our site which we are aware is causing disturbance to our neighbours. We wholeheartedly apologise for this. We agreed to the booking after assessing the organisers risk assessment and with the belief that this was an event primarily about Christian worship.
However there is a minority of people who are disrupting the event and causing significant problems in around the showground. Our priority is to help maintain public order and minimise disruption and allow the event to refocus on its Christian worship as quickly and quietly as possible. We have been in contact with the police who have been onsite today."
Rutland County Council issued a statement on Sunday evening.
It read: “Rutland County Council is aware of the religious festival that is currently being hosted at Rutland Showground and the reports of disturbances in the community.
Our top priority is to protect residents and businesses and we are working closely with the Police and showground to do this.
The Police are increasing patrols around the county, particularly in Oakham and the surrounding area and are putting in place special measures to ensure the continued protection of the community. They are in ongoing communication with the event organisers. We are also looking at any action that could be taken under COVID-19 regulations.”
Anyone with any information is visit https://www.leics.police.uk/ro/report/ quoting reference Log 186 of 19 June 2021 or to call 101.