Police have issued a rare emergency public order measure amid fears that a horse fair could feature "serious violence".
Appleby Horse Fair in Appleby-in-Westmorland, Cumbria, takes place today in the shadow of police tip-offs about warring visitor groups.
Police said it received reliable indication some guests at the typically tranquil annual event were "intent on serious violence", with arrests already made after vicious clashes, Lancs Live reports.
Cumbria Police superintendent Matt Kennerley said: “The police have information that there are a number of groups intending to travel to Appleby Horse Fair this weekend intent on causing serious violence as part of ongoing feuds between different groups.
“This is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
"In response to this information and to help keep people safe, a number of measures are to be implemented immediately.
“Policing resources will be increased in key areas and at key times.
“In addition, people are likely to see armed police in the Appleby area to allow such officers to respond swiftly and effectively to any potential situation that arises.”
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Section 60 orders under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act are rarely issued and only imposed in emergency situations.
The order came into place at 9.30am today (Saturday, August 14) and will expire at 12.30am tomorrow morning (Sunday, August 15).
It responded to arrests in the village prompted by public fighting just after 4.30pm on Friday.
Seven men were arrested, five on suspicion of affray and another two for public order offences.
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Cuts, bruises and facial injuries were among the wounds inflicted during the clashes, although it is not thought there were any more serious injuries than those.
Supt Kennerley added: “These powers will help our officers to keep people safe.
“However, I also urge anyone with information about potential disorder or any other type of criminality to contact the police.
“Anyone who is seeking to come to the Fair to act violently is no friend to those of us – including Appleby people and the Gypsy and Traveller people – who wish for the Horse Fair to be an enjoyable and safe environment for all.”
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