Leeds police issue statement as Garforth charity bonfire cancelled due to anti-social behaviour concerns

Leeds police have issued a statement after an annual charity bonfire was cancelled due to anti-social behaviour concerns.
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Garforth and District Lions Club annual charity bonfire night celebration, which has been going for 40 years, will not go ahead on November 3 following public safety concerns.

The organiser said a lack of guaranteed police presence and the “dangerous activities of some youths” were the main reasons behind the decision.

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Martin Egginton, president of Garforth and District Lions Club, said: “It is with great regret and a huge amount of frustration that we announce the cancellation of this year’s community bonfire. We were completely committed to this event, having booked the fireworks a year ago and we have been working hard behind-the-scenes to make it happen following a massive spike in antisocial behaviour last year.

Garforth and District Lions Club annual charity bonfire night celebration will not go ahead on November 3. Picture: Mel HulmeGarforth and District Lions Club annual charity bonfire night celebration will not go ahead on November 3. Picture: Mel Hulme
Garforth and District Lions Club annual charity bonfire night celebration will not go ahead on November 3. Picture: Mel Hulme

“The more we looked at the event we were unable to guarantee, to our satisfaction, that there would be no repetition of the dangerous activities of some youths, intent on dangerously disrupting the event, both on site and adjacent to it. From our perspective, the safety of the public we work for must be paramount.”

In a statement provided to the Yorkshire Evening Post, police called the event “low-risk” but said officers would have been on patrol in the “general locality.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “The event was reviewed at the local authority Safety Advisory Group where recommendations were made for Security Industry Authority registered staff to be utilised by the organisers following some incidents of disorder at last year’s event.

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“This year’s event has been fully considered at police senior leadership team level and was assessed as low risk, not requiring any specific police attendance. Officers from the local neighbourhood policing team had been made aware and were due to be on patrol in the general locality.

“As with any private event, it is the responsibility of the organiser to maintain the safety of those attending the event and to ensure there is sufficient trained and appropriate staffing in place from a public safety perspective.”

Garforth and District Lions Club are actively looking for ways they can “securely and safely” deliver a bonfire event in 2024.