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Saturday, 20 December 2014

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Gunfire reports at Appleby fair traveller camp

Armed police were called after a violent disturbance ended with reports of gunfire.

 It is understood at least one member of the travelling fraternity, who are in Appleby for the annual horse fair, dialled 999 reporting a “large-scale” disturbance in Fair Hill.

 The callers claimed there were various weapons being either brandished or used, including knives, pick axe handles and shovels.

At least one “loud bang” was then heard from the Market Field camping area at about 11.15pm on Saturday, which concerned travellers claimed was gunfire.

Cumbria police, who already had a large presence in the town, deployed officers to break up the disturbance, and dispatched its armed response unit – complete with a firearms-trained sniffer dog – to the area.

A thorough search revealed no gun – or weapons of any kind – and no-one reported any injuries.

Officers remained in the area throughout the night and much of yesterday to reassure the public and ensure there was no further trouble.

Assistance Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: “We responded to a suspected firearms incident and remained in the area [on Sunday] to provide reassurance to the public.

“The feedback has been very positive with the regards to the police responding and dealing with the incident swiftly and professionally.

“We appeal to anyone who has any information to come forward and speak to us.”

The incident was the only major challenge to police, who had been working closely as part of a multi-agency strategic co-ordination group to ensure the celebrations did not end in disaster.

There have been 28 arrests at the fair for alleged offences ranging from drink driving to drugs.

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