Police break up large crowds on Town Moor

Northumbria Police dispersed a group of "hundreds" yesterday on the Town Moor, Elsa Tarring reports.

Elsa Tarring
12th February 2021
@bens_lenss on Instagram
Northumbria Police were called yesterday to split up a gathering of “about 300” sledging and socialising on the Town Moor.

As well as sledging, witnesses say members of the group were drinking and not complying with the two metre social distancing rules. 

One witness told The Tab: “Hundreds of people were drinking and sledging at the top of the hill. The police showed up, and everyone just started running and hurtling themselves down the hill. It was like a festival up there”.

Another described seeing police helicopters and “at least 30 police officers” on the scene to disperse the crowd.

Hundreds of people were drinking and sledging. It was like a festival up there

The police have announced that they will patrol the Town Moor in the next few days and evenings and “take appropriate action where necessary”.

The group is assumed to be comprised of a combination of universities and secondary school students.

A spokesperson for the police has explained that they don’t believe the event was an “organised gathering”. 

However, they added: “this type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and undermines the efforts of the majority of people in our region who are making daily sacrifices to prevent the spread of coronavirus”.

Volunteers cleaning up on Cow Hill this morning described it as an “absolute mess”, with bottles, cans and broken glass left behind from last night’s gathering.

This type of behaviour is completely unacceptable

Not only were people breaking lockdown restrictions, but emergency services have also been called out 16 times in the last 24 hours to deal with sledging accidents.

A spokesperson for the North East Ambulance Service has described the situation as “putting an unacceptable strain on our service with injuries that are unnecessary and could be avoided”.

Paramedics were last called out this afternoon after someone broke their leg whilst sledging down Cow Hill.

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