Fright averted over police fees

News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.
News: Sheffield Telegraph online 24-hours a day.

POLICE have agreed to cancel charges for attending Sheffield’s Christmas lights switch-on and Fright Night Hallowe’en celebrations after public pressure and lobbying by MPs.

Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts, who was part of a delegation which met district police commander Chief Supt Simon Torr, said police ‘are not going to pursue charges’.

Police had levied a bill of around £8,000 to Yellow Bus Events, which organises Fright Night, and was set to charge Sheffield City Council £3,700 for last Sunday’s Christmas lights switch-on.

Mr Betts, who met Mr Torr with Brightside and Hillsborough MP David Blunkett and council leader Julie Dore, said: “There will be no attempt to charge for Fright Night or the Christmas lights switch-on.

“Mr Torr also indicated that the police are not going to pursue the charges in the future and will instead work with the council to see how future events should be policed.”

Mr Betts, who investigated the legal situation, added: “The legal position is that police cannot charge for an event in a public place with open and free access.”

Fright Night organiser Scott Barton said: “I’m delighted that the charges are being cancelled after these high level discussions, which will ensure the future of the event.”

Council chief executive John Mothersole said: “I have always felt that this issue could be sensibly resolved.”