Police object to Lithuanian festival in Hainault after ‘1000 extremely drunk people’ mar last year’s event

Hainault Forest Country Park. Photo: Andrew Bowden via Creative Commons

Hainault Forest Country Park. Photo: Andrew Bowden via Creative Commons - Credit: Andrew Bowden via Creative Commons

Police officers have asked for Redbridge Council to block a Lithuanian midsummer festival out of fear for children’s safety, papers show.

Reports state that at last year’s event a father had a tooth knocked out while trying to protect his child and up to 1000 “extremely drunk” people were roaming around afterwards.

Ilford company We Can Feel Ltd has applied for an alcohol and live music licence for this year’s Lithuanian celebration of St John’s Day at Hainault Forest Country Park on June 25.

It will go before the council’s licensing sub-committee on Friday.

Redbridge police have asked for the application to be rejected after problems at last year’s 6000-strong event.

In a letter to the sub-committee Pc Karolis Puidokas wrote: “Police are objecting to the event as we have no faith in the organisers adhering to their licence conditions. This has the potential to have serious consequences for public safety.”

Reports from last year’s celebration, organised by the same company, show a father had a tooth knocked out when punched in the face after trying to protect his child from brawling men.

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Papers state: “Police witnessed adults under the influence of alcohol fighting and falling onto nearby family picnic blankets causing women and children to move to avoid injury.”

One man was arrested for drunkenly lunging at and kissing a female police officer.

The police debrief report states the last “1000 people to leave were predominantly extremely drunk”.

It adds: “Most were good natured but there were some rowdy and aggressive elements to the crowd.

“Numerous persons were seen staggering or were being helped to walk by others.”

A Lithuanian newspaper printed an article about last year’s event titled “Immigrants celebrating ‘Jonines’ in UK could not do without fighting”.

We Can Feel Ltd has submitted an extensive 48-page event safety plan.

It states: “All festival goers will be searched on entry” and “any festival goer who is suspected of having drunk too much alcohol will initially be requested to leave the event.”

The report adds entertainers and stall holders “will be thoroughly briefed on the contents”.

We Can Feel Ltd has been contacted for comment.