POLICE in Barnstaple say they are ready and looking forward policing this years fair and carnival, taking place in the town later this month. Extra officers from the town s Neighbourhood Beat Team will be on patrol between Wednesday, September 16 and Satu

POLICE in Barnstaple say they are ready and looking forward policing this years fair and carnival, taking place in the town later this month.

Extra officers from the town's Neighbourhood Beat Team will be on patrol between Wednesday, September 16 and Saturday 19 to ensure the fun isn't ruined by troublemakers.

And following talks with North Devon District Council, Police and PCSOs have been issued with powers to disperse offending groups from the Seven Brethren fair ground, as well as Rock Park and the town centre, for up to 24 hours.

Under the Section 30 Dispersal Order - anti social behaviour legislation enabled for the four days the fair is in operation - offenders are likely to be arrested if the order is breached.

Neighbourhood team leader, Sergeant Paul Jones, said "Barnstaple Fair is an immensely popular event attracting people from all across North Devon. The police will be pleased to play our part in welcoming people to Barnstaple so they can enjoy all on offer."

Sgt Jones said that police were well prepared and that policing of the fair would be "firm but sensible".

"My staff and I will be on high visibility patrols working hard to ensure that a tiny minority of trouble makers do not spoil this community event for the many thousands of people of all ages who attend.

"Make no mistake, the police will be taking a firm no nonsense approach to alcohol this year particularly within the fair ground itself. There will be a zero tolerance approach to both underage drinking, and antisocial behaviour.

"If offenders do not heed our advice, we will be using our powers to exclude offenders from the fairground and town centre to prevent problems escalating."

Kate Morne, of Safer North Devon, was instrumental in obtaining the Section 30 power. She said: "A similar Section 30 dispersal order was extremely successful last year in preventing problems.

"It sends out a clear message from the police and council that bad inappropriate behaviour will not be tolerated. I know this measure has the support of the vast majority of public."

The Section 30 area is similar to the previous year and will include the fair ground, Rock Park and the town centre.

"We have included this area to send the message that if you cause problems on any evening during fair week, the police will effectively be ending your night, there will be nowhere left to go, added Kate Morne.

"We are doing all we can think of to make this a safe and memorable event for all who attend.