Leeds Festival boss Melvin Benn says security has increased "very dramatically"

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Security has been "very dramatically" increased at this year's Leeds Festival, organisers have said.

Festival boss Melvin Benn today reassured music lovers that this year's event will be the safest ever - after working closely with anti-terrorism officers.

"We are providing an environment that is as safe as is possible," he said.

"Trust me, we are working with terrorism experts in West Yorkshire Police, Thames Valley Police and up and down the country.

"Our security provision has gone up very dramatically. We are investing in a huge amount of extra training and resources in order to provide that reassurance."

His comments came after couple Leon and Stephanie Thompson spoke about being victims of an assault while attending the event in 2016.

They said they were raising the subject in the hope that security would be upped at the festival this year.

Mr Benn said the festival, which begins tomorrow, is expected to see more than 200,000 fans descend on the Reading and Leeds sites.

He said it is set to be the safest held since the company first began hosting it in 1999, but it would not mean too much disruption for music fans arriving on site.

"In the main there won't be much more additional delay," he said. "We will put extra resource in to make the lanes bigger and people will be able to come through faster.

"The big change really will be in terms of the arena - we will only be allowing in bags the size of an A4 sheet of paper. That will allow people to bring a rain mac or a bottle of water, or a sandwich.

"There will be sniffer dogs used on production vehicles coming in.

"What we are doing, very rapidly, is changing the culture and people are embracing it. We are in a changed world.

"But we're not giving in to any of these threats or demands or anything like that, we are just working through it."

Backstage security will also be tighter than ever with sniffer dogs used on production vehicles at the venue in Bramham Park.

The Leeds Festival website states that the organisers 'don't accept any discrimination towards any individual or groups of individuals'.

The website states that the organisers "are proud of the diverse nature of our festivals and their customers" and if "anyone sees or experiences anyone undermining this - no matter the severity - they should report it immediately to one of our onsite staff."

The measures apply to both the Leeds and Reading double header festivals - both on August 25 to 27 - where this year's big names include Eminem, Kasabian, Muse and ex-Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher.

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