Isle of Wight Festival 2018: £8,000 worth of drugs seized or handed in to police

Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival
Christopher Dale

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MORE than £8,000 worth of drugs were seized or put into amnesty bins at the weekend’s Isle of Wight Festival.

Police said £8,351 worth of illegal substances were removed from the site, compared to £2,202 worth last year.

Hampshire Constabulary has called the use of the amnesty bins a success.

It comes as festivals across the country are being called upon to have the bins for people to dispose of drugs after two young people died at Mutiny Festival, in Portsmouth, in May.

Georgia Jones, 18, and Tommy Cowan, 20, both from Havant, died after being taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital after falling ill at the event in Cosham.

The opening of inquests into their deaths heard they had both taken two ecstasy tablets.

Hampshire police said drug offences at Isle of Wight Festival remained low, and a number of significant arrests were made to inhibit the availability of drugs on site.

Officers and staff from across the force worked together from the planning stages and throughout the festival, to keep people safe and out of harm’s way.

Uniformed officers maintained a visible presence patrolling the outskirts of the festival, engaging with the public to provide safety messages and reassurance, as well as to tackle crime.

Initial figures suggest the number of overall offences reported to police during the four-day event were 90.

Last year 41 crimes were reported to police, and this compares to 85 in 2016. Further to this, 15 arrests were made this year.

The festival’s policing commander Superintendent Simon Dodds said: ‘Isle of Wight Festival has established itself as a relaxed and family-friendly event over decades of operating, and continues to do so as it moves into its 50th year.

‘We are grateful to the general public and festival-goers for making it so. We do of course recognise that there has been an increase in overall crime reports this year.

‘This is largely down to an increase of reported thefts from tents on the first night.

‘However, police and site security were quick to respond to these reports and subsequently two suspects were arrested. We are confident that this proactive joint work lead to the prevention of further offending of this type for the remainder of the event.

‘Reports of violent offences were also down from the previous year, which we are pleased to see.’