Campsite thefts increased at the British Grand Prix this weekend but uniformed and plain clothes officers made 21 arrests.
Last year’s wet weather helped keep the event’s crime total down but the Silverstone sunshine encouraged more opportunist criminals to chance their arm, police said.
A total of 58 crimes were reported at Silverstone over the three days of the Grand Prix meeting, which attracted a total of 294,000 spectators, 120,000 of them on Sunday raceday.
Officers made 21 arrests, four of them three men and a boy from Manchester who were questioned in connection with a string of tent thefts on campsites, the Woodlands site in particular.
All four – aged 43, 33, 26 and 17 – have been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
The vast majority of crimes were once again thefts, in the main from campsites – this accounted for around 80 per cent of all crime recorded.
In addition to the four from Manchester, police made another 17 arrests over the weekend – 21 in total.
Two men from the Liverpool area – aged 33 and 21 – were arrested and bailed in connection with vehicle crime offences, so too two men from the Milton Keynes area – aged 48 and 44 – who remain in custody at the Criminal Justice Centre in Northampton.
A 35-year-old man from Doncaster was arrested on suspicion of a wounding offence – he remains in custody.
And a 21-year-old man from Blackburn received a caution after being arrested for assault.
Two men were charged with drugs offences – a 35-year-old man from Nottingham and a 27-year-old man from Towcester.
And three men were arrested for being drunk and disorderly – a 27-year-old man from Northampton was charged, a 24-year-old man from Axbridge was released without charge and a 25-year-old man was issued with a fixed penalty notice.
Licensing officers also carried out a test purchasing operation around the campsites – with very disappointing results.
Alcohol sellers were issued penalty notices for disorder for serving alcohol to under-age drinkers on the Woodlands site, Hamilton Fields and the Litchlake site.
Superintendent Sean Bell, the event commander, said: “We experienced a large number of thefts from tents this year but believe we made significant arrests early on in the weekend.
“We had a large number of officers patrolling the campsites and car parks day and night and made sure we got out our key messages around personal security and crime prevention as widely as possible.
“Silverstone remains a low-crime event, if you consider that almost 300,000 came through the doors over the weekend.
“The test purchasing results were very disappointing. Certainly outside the circuit, on many of the campsites, there appeared to be little regard for the licensing laws that everyone else has to abide by.
“We will be speaking to the relevant premise licence holders regarding their training and procedures and will look to carry out a similar operation at next year’s event.
“The traffic flowed pretty well, considering the size of the crowd who came to watch the racing, and Silverstone’s park-and-ride operation worked very well indeed, especially on the Sunday – that is certainly the way forward for future years.
“The Silverstone crowd are always extremely good natured and supportive and we want them to return next year to have fun but in the knowledge that we will uphold the law to ensure a safe event for everyone.”