UGLY scenes marred the aftermath to Party in the Park as police were forced to use pepper spray and arrest two people, writes Neil Bracegirdle.
Violence erupted at Belle Vue Park in Sudbury at around 9.30pm on Sunday as most people were leaving the venue and the clean up operation was about to get under way.
Sergeant Kevin Horton, from Sudbury Police, said two groups, made up of 15 people, had got into a dispute and officers were called upon to separate them, with pepper spray used.
“The whole day was a good family event until the bitter end when some people, who were known to each other, fell out,” he said.
A 21-year-old man from Sudbury was arrested for assaulting a police officer and a 38-year-old woman, also from the town, was arrested for public order offences.
Mr Horton added that two officers were also kicked in the head during the melee and witnesses were being sought.
Inspector Paul Crick said the incident was “unfortunate” but was dealt with swiftly.
Around 4,000 people had attended the annual event, which was being held for the fourth year, and featured children’s entertainers, dance displays and live music.
Teresa Elford, event organiser, said a repeat of the violence in future years could spell the end of the party – which is advertised as being family friendly.
“There was just a few people who tried to spoil the day,” she said. “The whole event had gone without a hitch until that point. These people ruin it for everyone else.”
Mrs Elford said the introduction of security staff was being considered for next year’s event.
“Having security on the entrances is something we are thinking about,” she said.
“It is a free event and we don’t want to stop people having fun but this might be necessary.”
Sudbury mayor Jack Owen, who opened the event, said it was a “real shame” a fight had broken out as proceedings came to a close.
q Anyone who witnessed the assault on police officers should contact Sgt Horton at Sudbury Police on 101.