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UK News

Two arrests and complaints from locals over Christian festival in Leicestershire

by Marcus Jones

Leicestershire Police say they will be daily visiting the Light and Life Christian festival at Rutland Showground in Leicestershire after complaints were made about anti-social behaviour.

The annual mission event which attracts around 1,500 members of the travelling community has seen local residents contacting police over fights, theft and drag car racing in the streets.

In a statement online, Superintendent Jonny Starbuck said: "Our presence continues in Oakham and at the Light and Life event at Rutland Show Ground. We have additional resources from the wider force to assist in dealing with issues that have been reported including an increase in anti-social behaviour, some criminal offences and driving offences.

"This is an outdoor event which is legal. We have been working with the event organisers and partners to ensure that Covid rules are followed. 

"Local officers continue to patrol on the ground and to engage with local business owners and licensed premises.

"We are investigating a number of offences including attempted robbery and anti-social behaviour. Two arrests have been made so far."

Local residents have reported shops being asked to close early due to the abuse of staff and speeding cars through villages.

Rutland Agricultural Society, which owns the site, said it "regrets the disruption". 

Speaking to Premier, one of the festival organisers, Gerry Beves, said that the issue had been blown out of proportion.

"They may see some young lads who are being rowdy and think everyone is like that," he said. "Actually 99.9 per cent are not. They are family people with small children."

He also said that the event itself wasn't to blame but said it was being held to reach out to those who aren't Christians.

"The nature of mission is that you intend for people to come who are unsaved,

"This is a mission and is for those who aren't saved."

It's not the first time the event had attracted negative publicity. In 2017, residents in Thame complained that their town had been 'taken over' by the festival.

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