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Police confirm 65 protesters taken into custody as 118 arrests made following delayed start to Grand National

118 Grand National protesters arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and public nuisance offences as three horses die

A total of 118 protesters were arrested, with 65 being taken into custody, after the Grand National was delayed.

The 17:15 main event at Aintree was delayed by animal welfare protesters who made their way onto the race course.


An estimated 23 protesters made their way onto the race course

Others chained themselves to a fence

Multiple individuals also attached themselves to the surrounding fences with police then having to remove protesters from the race course and walls before Corach Rambler’s win.

The race course itself wasn’t the only area affected by protests, with the M57 in Kirkby blocked by individuals who glued themselves to the motorway.

Three horses died at Aintree, including Hill Sixteen which fell during the main event.

In all 118 men and women aged between 18 and 66 were arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including conspiracy to cause public nuisance, obstructing highways and possession of controlled drugs. It was confirmed on Sunday that 65 were taken into police custody.

Merseyside Police Assistant Chief Constable Paul White said in a statement: “The Grand National race was temporarily delayed for a short period of time while officers dealt with protesters who attempted to gain entry onto Aintree racecourse, and this was across the whole site which covers an extensive perimeter of around 5km which in parts is open land.

“As you can understand, the safety and wellbeing of everyone is of paramount concern when dealing with large-scale public events such as this, and this includes those who are protesting.

There was an increased police presence after protesters were cleared

“To put into perspective, it is estimated that around 70,000 visitors attended the Grand National and the event went safely with an enjoyable atmosphere despite the short interruption from protesters.

“We had a robust plan in place to deal with incidents, and as such our officers and security staff were able to quickly deal with the situation in a safe and appropriate manner.

“It is also important to add that we respect the right to a peaceful protest and expression of views, but criminal behaviour and disorder will not be tolerated and sadly this is what took place at yesterday’s event in an attempt to disrupt the race which resulted in the arrests.”

Mr White continued: “I would like to reiterate our sincere thanks to members of the public for not only their patience but also their support while we dealt with the protesters.

“Our continued gratitude also goes to mutual aid officers from Greater Manchester Police, North Wales Police, Cheshire Police and Durham Police, British Transport Police and our partners at Aintree racecourse, security providers and the Jockey Club for their assistance on the day.”

Dickon White, regional director for Jockey Club Racecourses added: “There was a short delay to the start time for the Grand National, due to the reckless actions of a small number of individuals.

“The police and our security teams, who form part of a strong visible presence on course, dealt with the incident swiftly and decisively. The pre-race parade was cancelled as a result of the short delay.

“The Grand National Festival sees thousands of people come to enjoy racing and a great atmosphere, with millions following on television, radio and online.

“While the actions of a small number of individuals were intended to disrupt the event, the safety and security of everyone on course will always be our number one priority.”

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