Cheltenham Festival 2021: police to patrol popular spectator hotspot to stop Covid rule breaches

Cleeve Hill looks onto Prestbury Park. Credit: PA images

A popular beauty spot that overlooks Cheltenham Racecourse will be patrolled by police officers for the duration of the festival this year.

Cleeve Hill is a hotspot for spectators who traditionally congregate on the land to watch the racing take place at Prestbury Park.

For this year's event, which is taking place behind closed doors, officers from Gloucestershire Police will patrol areas around the racecourse to stop people from gathering in large numbers.

The world-famous festival starts on Tuesday 16 March and runs until Friday 19 March.

Police officers will work with festival organisers to ensure that the coronavirus regulations around social distancing and outdoor gatherings are is being followed.

Inspector Rich Smith from the Cheltenham Neighbourhood Policing Team said: "As we remain in a national lockdown officers from Gloucestershire Constabulary will continue to use the 4Es approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow the Coronavirus guidelines whilst using enforcement where necessary if people are knowingly flouting the law and gathering during the Cheltenham Festival next month.

“Where a breach of the regulations is clear and the person breaching them is aware that they are not complying then officers will intervene and use police powers if needed.

“Officers will be patrolling a number of areas of Cheltenham, including Cleeve Hill, as part of their usual patrols to ensure that people do not begin to gather due to the event being behind closed doors."

The festival takes place a matter of weeks before another easing of lockdown restrictions is expected, if coronavirus case numbers continue to fall.

According to Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households could be allowed from 29 March.

That includes in private gardens.

Read more: