Police thank Wickerman crowds

Police want to thank fans who attended the annual Wickerman Festival at East Kirkcarswell, near Dundrennan, last weekend for their good behaviour.

The festival, now in its 10th year provided the largest crowd yet over the three days - about 20,000. It was policed to what is now a tried and tested plan resulting in only a handful of minor offences to be dealt with.

This year fans were met with a police operation as they entered the festival site. Vehicles and people were searched, with the assistance of police sniffer dogs, in an attempt to stop illegal drugs being brought in.

As a result, 63 people were found in possession of illegal drugs and will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. In addition, five people will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal in relation to the supply of illegal drugs.

Drugs worth just under £3,500 were seized. They included cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine, ecstasy and diazepam.

As the festival-goers left on Sunday, people driving off the site were offered the opportunity to take a voluntary breathalyser test to check on their fitness for the public roads. In total, nearly 500 drivers took advantage of this initiative and police are again encouraged by the level of responsibility taken by drivers in this initiative.

Newton Stewart-based Inspector Stuart Davidson, who was responsible for pulling the policing plan together, said: “Once again the good working relationships developed over the years between all those involved in running the festival has paid dividends. The low numbers of arrests in high numbers of attendees is a credit to those who come along to the festival.

“ While there is an increase in the number of people found in possession of illegal drugs, the positive factor in the manner in which we carried out our searches has ensured that none of theses drugs were able to be taken into the festival site to be misused.

“Our officers engaged with the festival goers and there was a good atmosphere about the place. The majority of those being searched for drugs were fully supportive of the measures taken to stop this type of activity inside the site.”

l Festival: Pages 20&21