'The health of everyone must be the priority during this national health crisis'

10 April 2020

Appleby Horse Fair 2020 will not take place.

The decision was made in March with the support of the Gypsy and Traveller community due to the Covid-19 national health crisis.

Cumbria Police’s Temporary Chief Superintendent Rob O’Connor said: “Myself and other members of the MASCG have been in regular contact with the Gypsy and Traveller community and are happy the message that the 2020 Fair is not going ahead has been well-received and accepted as the only appropriate course of action.

“The health of everyone – Gypsies and Travellers and the settled community alike – must be the priority during this national health crisis.

“We will continue to work with the Gypsy and Traveller community in the coming weeks. However, we have also put measures in place in case there are some who have not heard the messages or choose to ignore them and travel to Appleby.

“We are working with other police forces around the country so that anyone who does decide to travel to Appleby will be told to turn around prior to arriving. We will continue to have officers patrolling key areas and looking out for anyone travelling into the county.

“I would urge anyone with first-hand information about people travelling to the county in contravention of the lockdown restrictions to contact the police. When such information is received it will be acted upon. People will be engaged with, have the situation explained to them and encouraged to return home and, if they do not comply, as we have seen in recent weeks enforcement action will be taken under the relevant COVID-19 legislation.”

People can report non-emergency issues using the online form.

Or by calling 101 – the non-emergency phone line.

Gypsy and Traveller Representative on the MASG, Billy Welch, said: “The people in the Gypsy and Traveller community I have spoken to are disappointed the Fair will not go ahead this year but they understand why it mustn’t.

“The North-West of England has been particularly hard hit by the Coronavirus and anyone who did travel would be putting their own health and the health of their family at serious risk.

“If there are any individuals who do decide to come, it is right that they are spoken to by the police in the same way as anyone else travelling to Cumbria – asked to go home and made to go home if they refuse.”