Police say around 250 people travelled to Wickham today from as far away as Yorkshire – despite the annual Horse Fair being cancelled.
Roads were closed delaying people travelling to work and dozens of officers were deployed, but police say no criminal offences were reported to them.
In a statement on Facebook Hampshire Police said: “A large number of our officers were deployed to Wickham throughout the day to manage an incident in relation to Wickham Horse Fair.
“The event was cancelled due to current Covid-19 restrictions, and along with our partners we had planned to facilitate a symbolic event.
“This morning a number of people turned up despite the event being cancelled, along with horses and vehicles.
“It was estimated that around 250 people arrived in Wickham, from as far away as Yorkshire and Wales.
“We do receive intelligence relating to potential for events and try, where possible, to identify organisers and engage with them in advance.
“Where this was a cancelled event, we were unable to do so and it was not clear as to how many people may attend.
“Resources were allocated ahead of time to ensure public safety, which was maintained throughout the event.
“Road closures were put into place for the purposes of road safety, and although we accept some disruption was caused to the road network care was taken to minimise impact wherever possible. The roads are now fully open.
“We had resources in place to prevent any escalation, and officers were responding to an ever-changing situation on the ground. We are pleased to announce that this did not escalate beyond what had been planned for, and no criminal offences have been reported to us.
“Powers and policies, such as a Section 35 Dispersal Order, were utilised in order to keep a dynamic situation under control.
“We appreciate the help of our partners in managing this situation, but also the support and patience of the public we serve.”