Drugs Worth £120k Seized At Festival

13 August 2013, 13:15 | Updated: 13 August 2013, 13:29

Hampshire police say they seized around 120-thousand pounds worth of drugs at the Boomtown Fair near Winchester.

In the run up to the event, the 27,000 festival goers were reminded not to bring illegal drugs on to the site, and warned that anyone caught with illegal drugs could face arrest, ejection from the Fair and a subsequent criminal record.

People were given one last opportunity to avoid arrest by disposing of illegal drugs in amnesty bins before entering the site.

Specially trained drug search dogs were deployed at the main entrance gates to search ticket holders as they entered and officers carried out patrols within the site to ensure everyone could enjoy the festival in a safe environment.

Approximately £120,000 worth of drugs were seized over the four day event, 238 people were dealt with on site for drug related offences and 11 were arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply drugs, dealt with at Alton Custody
Police officers and event security also carried out patrols of the campsite areas and arenas, supported by police horses from Thames Valley Police's mounted unit, to deter thieves stealing from tents or pick-pocketing.

A total of 82 thefts were reported to police, with the majority being thefts from tents.

Superintendent James Fulton, police silver commander for the event, said:

"This weekend has seen a large number of people heading to Winchester to enjoy the Boomtown Fair.

"We worked closely with festival organisers to help them plan for a safe and enjoyable event .

"We hope this has sent out a clear message that drugs aren't welcome at Boomtown, and shown those who are tempted to take drugs into future festivals that it isn’t worth the risk of landing yourself a criminal record that will stay with you forever."

Three people have been charged in connection with theft incidents at Boomtown. Charander Landa, aged 20, from Clifford Street, Southampton and Trevor O’Neill, aged 18, from Lamberhurst Close in Southampton have been charged with seven theft offences. Nineteen-year-old James Poole from Bishopstone, Salisbury has been charged with seven theft offences and possession of a Class A drug.

They were all due to appear at Basingstoke Magistrates Court on Monday, August 12.

An 18-year-old woman from Somerset who was at the event died on Thursday, August 8 after the Boomtown Fair control team and on site emergency services were made aware of a woman in need of medical attention. Her death is not being treated as suspicious. A post mortem examination is due to be carried out today (13th Aug).

Meanwhile Winchester City Council have confirmed that  they are investigating potential breaches of the noise conditions of the licence covering events at Matterley Bowl, Winchester following noise monitoring undertaken during the event.

Whilst the 8 noise complaints received by the City Council out of hours noise team during the event was relatively low there are concerns that the noise levels at nearby properties on occasion exceeded the limits stipulated in the licence conditions.

Officers have begun a process of analysing the data from noise monitoring equipment to confirm their initial findings and will then consider what action will be taken to deal with any confirmed breaches.

Noise monitoring teams were in operation throughout each night of the event and checked noise levels at a number of locations, including complainant’s properties. They worked alongside other staff that inspected the site for health and safety and licensing compliance.

Officers are also awaiting comments from Hampshire Police regarding the traffic delays on the Monday after the event so that these can be taken into account for any future events at the site.

Cllr Rob Humby, the Council’s Deputy Leader, said

“Overall we are pleased that the Boomtown Festival was well managed, and delighted it was enjoyed by so many. However, if there has been a breach of the licence conditions it must be dealt with to ensure the interests of our local communities are protected.

We will discuss the Police’s conclusions regarding traffic management after the event as part of the usual debriefing process to see if any lessons can be learned for the future.”