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  1. ITV Report

Daredevils take part in annual cheese-rolling competition

Competitors take part in the annual Cheese Rolling event at Coppers Hill near Brockworth, Gloucestershire Photo: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Daredevils have been hurling themselves down a hill in Gloucestershire as part of the annual cheese-rolling competition despite fears over the safety of the event.

The contest, which involves chasing a round of Double Gloucester down Cooper's Hill, has been held here since at least the early 1800s.

This year's event was won by an American estate agent wearing a 'stars and stripes' jumpsuit.

Kenny Rackers, 27, told reporters he had come all the way from Colorado in the US especially to take part.

The event has attracted controversy since 2009 when 15,000 people - three times the number considered safe - turned up to watch the event.

That was the last official cheese rolling contest, but unofficial events have been held every year since.

Spectators line the slope of Coppers Hill Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

For the first time in the event's history, competitors will chase a round of stage foam instead of a real cheese.

It follows the decision by cheese-maker who has provided the cheese for a quarter of a century to pull out of the event after police warned her she could be held liable for injuries.

Diana Smart, 86, said she was angry, but that her decision could not be helped. Rob Smart, another cheese-maker, said that any litigation could "completely destroy our business".

There were a fair number of Americans among the spectators at this year's event, many of whom said they had watched cheese-rolling on television at home.

Most of the spectators interviewed by ITV Westcountry said they thought the concerns over the safety of the event were overblown.