Twenty arrests made at Wild Life festival

Sussex Police has thanked festivalgoers and organisers for their support
Sussex Police has thanked festivalgoers and organisers for their support

Sussex Police confirmed it made 20 arrests at the Wild Life music festival as a senior officer thanked festivalgoers and organisers for their support.

More than 45,000 people flocked to Shoreham Airport on Friday and Saturday (June 9-10) for the 2017 Wild Life music festival with Sussex Police launching a full scale operation to see that those attending did so safely and securely.

Nearly 100 people were dealt with by police, all bar six on suspicion of drugs offences, most of them being ejected from the festival having had an array of illegal drugs seized.

Twenty people were arrested on and around the site over the two days, mostly for drugs offences, but two for assault and one for robbery. Fifteen cannabis warnings were issued and 59 offences were dealt with by way of community resolution.

Superintendent Jim Bartlett said: “We worked closely with the organisers, SJM Concerts, along with emergency services and local authority partners to provide a safe and secure festival where tens of thousands were able to enjoy the event.

“An event of this scale will inevitably cause a degree of disruption to the local community, but I believe that the problems that did arise were not serious and quickly dealt with. I would like to thank all those involved in its organisation and indeed, the vast majority of those attending, for making it another successful year.

“It is disappointing that there are still those who will use such events to try to sell illegal drugs, but along with the full support of the organisers, we were able to mount a robust operation and seized a significant quantity of illegal substances and made some key arrests. Several people have already been charged with possession offences and face court and there are seven more facing investigation into possession with intent to supply.”

For the first time, armed officers were sent to the festival, along with specialist drugs officers and dogs aiming to disrupt drug suppliers entering the site.

Supt Bartlett said: “I was heartened to receive many positive comments on site and also from a large number of people on social media who had relatives and friends attending and were reassured by their presence.

“It was a good opportunity for the firearms officers to engage with festival-goers and explain their role and also to be included in a large number of selfies. They seem to have escaped the facial ‘glitterati’ trend - not something that could be said of quite a few of the dog handlers and neighbourhood officers!

“Three years on from its launch, Wild Life has established itself as a fixture in the festival calendar and as well as its target audience of young adults, is also popular with young families. We are happy to play our part in doing all we can to continue that fun and friendly atmosphere.”

Four people are facing court appearances after being arrested at the event. Maurice Lowes, 44, a company director of Overtown Lane, Wroughton, Swindon, has been charged with possession of a controlled drug of Class B - cannabis/cannabis resin. He will appear at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on July 4.

Jack Andrews, 20, a personnel manager of Kestrel Road, Ipswich, has been charged with possession of a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA. Jeffery Hunter, 22, a student of Nesbitt Road, Brighton, has been charged with possession of a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA and possession of controlled drug of Class B - ketamine. Both men are bailed to appear at Worthing Magistrates’ Court on June 23.

Daniel Hargreaves, 20, a labourer of Abbeydore Road, Portsmouth, has been bailed to Brighton Magistrates’ Court on June 26, charged with possession of a controlled drug of Class A - cocaine.

A 22-year-old woman from Portslade was cautioned for possession of controlled drug of Class B - cannabis/cannabis resin. A 22-year-old man from Goring-by-Sea was cautioned for possession of a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA and possession of controlled drug of Class B - cannabis/cannabis resin. A 17-year-old boy from Buxted, Uckfield, was cautioned for possession of a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA and possession of controlled drug of Class B - ketamine. A 23-year-old man from Broadwater, Worthing, was cautioned for possession of a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA and a 25-year-old man from Forest Hill, London, was cautioned for possession of a controlled drug of Class A - cocaine and possession of controlled drug of Class B - cannabis/cannabis resin.

A 44-year-old man from Southwick was cautioned for assault by beating.

Investigations are continuing into an 18-year-old man from Portslade, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA; a 15-year-old boy from Shoreham-by-Sea, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A - other; a 31-year-old woman from Peacehaven, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA; a 17-year-old boy from Dartford, Kent, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA; an 18-year-old man from Southsea, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A - cocaine and possession of controlled drug of Class B - cannabis/cannabis resin; a 20-year-old man from Brighton, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A - MDMA, possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class B - ketamine and possession of a controlled drug of Class A - cocaine; and a 21-year-old man from Dover, arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class A – MDMA and possession with intent to supply a controlled drug of Class C - other.

All have been questioned and released under investigation.

A 39-year-old man from Ealing, arrested on suspicion of possession of controlled drug of Class B - cannabis/cannabis resin has also been released under investigation.

A 15-year-old boy from Shoreham-by-Sea, arrested on suspicion of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and an 18-year-old man from Brighton, arrested on suspicion of robbery, were both later released with no further action to be taken against them.