Latitude festival-goers urged to be aware of dangers of opportunist criminals

Crowds at Latitude 2017 Picture: PAUL JOHN BAYFIELD

Crowds at Latitude 2017 Picture: PAUL JOHN BAYFIELD - Credit: PAUL JOHN BAYFIELD

Festival-goers are being urged to think about their safety and security ahead of Suffolk’s biggest summer music event.

Suffolk Constabulary said the large number of people attending Latitude this weekend together with the relaxed atmosphere can make it easy for opportunists looking to take advantage of visitors lowering their guard.

Most incidents reported last year were theft-related – often on the first night when criminals target tents, assuming people have not yet made security plans and still have large amounts of cash.

Officers are keen to ensure crime is kept to a minimum at this year’s festival, which runs Thursday-Sunday.

Det Supt David Cutler said: “The festival has become a well established fixture on the Suffolk calendar and, as such, we want everyone to enjoy it.

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“We urge everyone attending to be mindful of the security of their valuables as there will be a very small minority who will look to exploit those who have their guard down. Have fun at the festival, but stay vigilant, be aware of your surroundings and stay safe. If you have any concerns, please approach one of our officers or a member of the event staff who will be happy to help.”

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore added: “Latitude shines a fantastic spotlight on our beautiful county, attracting more and more visitors each year and the impact this has on the local economy is hugely important.

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“As with any large event of this nature, there is always a danger that visitors enjoying themselves forget basic crime prevention and make themselves vulnerable to crime. I would encourage festival-goers to take care of themselves, look out for friends and be aware of what’s going on around them.

“If you can avoid it, don’t take anything of value with you, keep your valuables safe, enjoy the festival and make sure your memories of Latitude 2018 are all happy ones.”

Police advice for Latitude festival-goers:

•Stick with your friends and look out for each other.

•Moderate your alcohol consumption. Overdo it and you’ll be less aware and less likely to spot dangers. Have a glass of water between drinks and pace yourself.

•Be careful. Festivals give you the opportunity to meet new friends but going off alone with people who you’ve just met may lead you into situations you don’t want to be in.

• Remember no means no. Too much alcohol and the heat of the moment can lead to issues of consent. Don’t take advantage of situations that are alcohol-fuelled or the consequences could be arrest, a court appearance and a prison term.

• There is safety in groups. Set up camp near friends, make friends with your neighbours and learn the layout of the site so you can find what you need – toilets/ stewards, etc, without getting lost. You can always ask staff for help with directions or anything else you may need.

• Don’t bring large sums of cash, lots of credit/ debit cards, or lots of valuables with you. Only bring what you need and keep them on you, or in a locker, at all times. There are cash points on site so you can withdraw money as you need it.

• If you can’t take your valuables with you when you leave your tent leave them at home. A tent offers little, if any, security and can easily be entered even if the entrance is padlocked.

• Make use of the property Storage Tent onsite, open 24 hours, to store your valuables and possessions securely.

• Place any property that would be attractive to thieves (cash, credit cards, mobile phones, cameras, etc) inside a bag and tuck it into your sleeping bag when you go to sleep.

• Make a note of card numbers, and the number to call if they are stolen or mislaid, and postcode mark the property you bring to Latitude so that it is identifiable.

• If you arrive by car don’t leave anything in your vehicle, including satellite navigation systems/ CDs, cash etc. Take everything with you or leave it at home.

• Be mindful of the activities of people around you when watching performances. Bags with shoulder straps should be worn across your chest, with the fastening towards your body. Rucksacks should be kept closed and not left unattended.

• Keep mobile phones secure. It’s easy for a pickpocket to remove items such as these from a pocket or bag in a crowd without you noticing.

• Use the lockers provided in the village.

• You are asked to report any suspicious activity to security or stewards on site or, in an emergency, if you believe a crime is in progress, dial 999.

Police advice for drivers:

• Police are also reminding motorists that there may be some delays on the A12 near Henham as thousands of festival goers flock to the site, so be prepared for slow-moving traffic along the A12, particularly between Yoxford and the site.

• Police are advising drivers to leave extra time for your journey and if you can avoid the area please do so. If you’re heading to the site you may also wish to consider public transport options, as buses are laid on from local railway stations to the site.

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