Motorists urged to drive carefully following biggest Fair in years
As the biggest Appleby Horse Fair in recent years comes to a close, all road users are urged to be extra careful on roads throughout Cumbria and beyond.
The 2022 Appleby Horse Fair saw 1,231 caravans and bowtops in attendance – the highest such figure since 2015.
As such the roads in and around Appleby are expected to be busy this morning (13 June) and people are urged to drive with caution and be aware of the potential for slow-moving vehicles all road types.
Chair of the Appleby Horse Fair Multi-Agency Strategic Co-ordinating Group (MASCG), Les Clark, of Eden District Council, said: “I would like to thank everyone for working together around this year’s Fair.
“All the agencies involved in the MASCG have put in a tremendous amount of work planning for the Fair, and then meeting daily for the last few weeks.
“This has allowed us to react to any issues as they arose and respond to any concerns that have been raised in the daily community meetings, reports to the police or comments on social media.
“All the feedback we receive from the community is reviewed at these meetings which allows us to make informed decisions about resources and issues such as traffic management and litter.
“I’d particularly like to note that, this year, we have had a tremendous amount of good feedback about the work of our clean-up crews who have been working long hours to try and ensure Appleby and the surrounding area is kept clean.
“We have received hundreds of comments about their work which has started early each morning with litter picking and continues throughout the day, clearing rubbish and cleaning toilets, followed by cleaning the Sands area each evening.”
Cumbria Police experienced a particularly busy Fair, with the highest number of arrests recorded (18) since 2014, with people arrested for a variety of offences ranging from violent disorder following the incident on Battlebarrow on Saturday afternoon to people arrested for being drunk and disorderly after being caught urinating in the street.
In addition to arrests, more than 200 fixed penalty notices have been issued - a record high in recent years - and 42 Stop and Searches, as well as 79 searches under Section 60 powers have been carried out - also record highs.
This year has also seen the highest number of dispersal orders issued since 2016 - 28.
The police have also uplifted 25 vehicles for matters such as no insurance and obstruction - another record high.
Chief Superintendent Matt Kennerley of Cumbria Police said: “From a policing perspective, it has been another busy year for our officers – as would be expected at the biggest Fair we have seen in recent years.
“Whilst the incident on Battlebarrow understandably received a great deal of attention, it should be noted that the matter was resolved without violence of any description and I would like to pay tribute to our officers who reacted extremely quickly to the potential threat and put themselves between the group and those peacefully enjoying the Fair on The Sands, in order to keep people safe.
“At this time of year we ask a great deal of our officers, who work extremely long shifts and are often away from their families for a number of days – this year one officer even missed the birth of their child whilst policing the Fair.
“Our investigation into the incident in Battlebarrow is on-going and whilst those involved may have left the county, we will work with other police forces to identify those who came to the Fair to cause disorder and take action against them, which may include steps to prevent them attending Appleby Horse Fair next year.
“Our officers have been proactive throughout the 2022 Fair, which has resulted not just in an increase in the number of arrests on 2021 but a significant increase in other activities including in excess of 200 fixed penalty notices issued, vehicles uplifted and more than 100 individuals searched under Stop and Search and Section 60/60AA powers, resulting in weapons including bladed weapons being seized.
“However, it should always be recognised that the overwhelming majority of those who attend the Fair do so positively. We would like to pass on our thanks to those people and wish everyone a safe journey home.”
Gypsy and Traveller representative on the MASCG, Billy Welch, said: “It’s been an absolutely wonderful Fair. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. Everything has gone like clockwork.
“The police have been absolutely brilliant. We had a couple of issues with some idiots but the police nipped it in the bud, very professionally.
“Last year – the Fair in August – was good but everyone was still very aware of Covid and being cautious. This year everything is back to normal, and it makes you realise how precious normality is.
“I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable journey home. I’d just like to ask all motorists to be aware of horse-drawn vehicles on the road – you can come upon them very quickly.”