Police tackle counterfeit money gang at Glastonbury, but crime is down overall

Police patrol near the Pyramid Stage at this year's Glastonbury Festival
Police patrol near the Pyramid Stage at this year's Glastonbury Festival Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Police have swooped in on a gang of festival goers who have been using counterfeit money at Glastonbury, it has been reported, in what has been the only major criminal incident at this year's festival so far.

At around 9pm on Thursday night, officers from Avon and Somerset Police arrived at one of the festival's food markets near the Pyramid Stage after being alerted to a gang who had allegedly been spending forged £20 notes. Four festival goers were arrested at the scene, while five were later arrested in connection to using counterfeit money.

Festivalgoers high five patrol officers on Thursday Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Amid a heightened security operation at this year's festival, crime is down in comparison to this time at last year's event, with 44 arrests in total, and 109 instances of reported crime – largely for minor drug offences. There were 123 instances of reported crime at this time last year.

There has, however, been an increase in accidental 999 calls from the festival, with police tweeting that festival goers should be aware of the notorious "butt-dial". They have also repeatedly tweeted that they have a zero tolerance policy against drug use, following stories of ecstasy use on site.

The increase in security measures at the festival resulted in hours of queues on its opening days, with event organisers advising attendees travel light due to extra searches being introduced – both a bag search, followed by a hand-held metal detector search. According to witness reports, queues were half a mile long within an hour of gates opening at 7am on Wednesday.