Police and council preparing joint statement today over Bank Holiday horse fair near Wellingborough

Chief Constable pledges: "We will deal robustly with those breaking the law, causing damage and distress in the community"

Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 8:32 am
Local warnings have been issued and events cancelled in the area around Great Doddington

Police and local authorities will issue a statement today (Wednesday) about a horse fair set to take place between Northampton and Wellingborough over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Businesses around Great Doddington and Wollaston are closing for the weekend while other events have been cancelled ahead of the fair, which is likely to attract thousands of visitors from the travelling community.

Sywell Aerodrome yesterday announced it has scrapped all its events for the weekend.

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Villagers have called for the event to be banned amid fears an influx of visitors to an unlicensed event in the area will cause further spikes in Covid-19 cases.

Northamptonshire's Chief Constable Nick Adderley admitted he is powerless to stop the event from going ahead but last night vowed: "We will deal robustly with those breaking the law, causing damage to property and causing alarm and distress in the community."

Travellers have already been moved on after setting up camp sites in open spaces and car parks in the county. One group was evicted from Far Cotton Recreation Ground on Tuesday.

And Earls Barton Parish Council issued a tweet telling residents: "If you think travellers are parking up illegally or witness anything suspicious, please call 101 quoting Operation Bailey."

Summer Leys Nature Reserve car park has been blocked off ahead of the horse fair

The traditional fair is to take place on a site in Hardwater Road, between Wollaston and Great Doddington. despite organisers last week claiming it had been cancelled.

Gates to nearby fields leading to the site close to Summer Leys Nature Reserve have been blocked off by logs as a precaution.

A spokesman for Sywell Aerodrome said: "We have learnt of a proposed Horse Fair being held in the locality over the forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend.

"It has been reported that thousands of travellers have and will be descending on the local area, particularly in Wellingborough."

The spokesman said the decision had been taken to close the general public car park until next week. The Outdoor Cinema events and all car meets at the weekend have been cancelled. All security gates will remain closed over the weekend, including Bank Holiday Monday.

"We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause."

Today's statement will be released jointly by the Police, Northampton Borough Council and Borough Council of Wellingborough.

Superintendent Adam Ward said: “The plans for the proposed horse fair event are being assessed by the relevant authorities to determine whether the activities would be compliant with current Covid-19 regulations.

“The police have no powers to ban any such event under Covid legislation and we are working with other agencies who have a wider role and greater powers in relation to the legislation."