To be filled

THOUSANDS of pounds worth of illicit drugs were seized from festival-goers at South Central in Portsmouth.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 12:40 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th May 2019, 11:10 pm

Police arrested four suspected drug dealers – and detained another person linked to a sexual assault.

Nearly £10,500 worth of drugs were seized by Hampshire police with the festival organisers saying sniffer dogs and ‘undercover security’ led to a tightened-up approach. Overall there were 13 crimes reported and eight arrests.

Last year, at the event’s predecessor Mutiny Festival, two young festival-goers died and around £1,300 worth of drugs were seized.

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South Central Festival on Saturday held at King George V Playing Fields in Portsmouth. Pictured are members of the security team at The Fort stage which featured giant rubber ducks. Picture: Vernon Nash (250519-102)

Care worker Georgia Jones, 18, and young father Tommy Cowan, 20, both died after each taking two MDMA pills on the first day of the 2018 event.

Their parents have since warned of the dangers of taking drugs and the coroner at their inquests said taking drugs was like ‘Russian roulette’.

Georgia's mum Janine Milburn, 42, from Havant, went to the festival on both days this year – and said while she saw people clearly on drugs there wasn’t a ‘nasty atmosphere’.

She said: ‘You’re not going to stop any of it getting in and people are always going to try and bring it in no matter what’s going on, you get it in prisons and everywhere else.

‘The fact that they’ve seized what they’ve seized is really good. It’s out of the hands of dealers and didn’t get as far as being in the hands of anyone in there.’

On the King George V Playing Fields event she said: ‘There wasn’t that atmosphere – I walked past people who were on drugs but there wasn’t a general atmosphere of being off their face.

‘There was a nice vibe, people enjoying themselves rather than off their face and spaced out.’

A statement released to The News from organisers of South Central Festival, run by Luke Betts, said the event went ‘above and beyond the security requirements that our licence required’.

It added: ‘These measures included trained security staff, sniffer dogs and undercover security on site throughout the weekend.

‘We are pleased that this resulted in a low number of crimes reported and a handful of arrests made during a weekend in which thousands of festival-goers enjoyed a safe event.’