Rival school kids 'plan stab night' at town funfair putting cops on high alert

POLICE are investigating reports of rival schoolkids planning a "stab night" fight at an historic family fair.

Teen gangs from different schools are said to have plotted to scrap each other at this week's annual Michaelmas Fair in Newbury, Berkshire.

Schools have written to parents about the rumoured pre-arranged fights at the fair, which which dates back to the 17th century and runs until Saturday.

Cops beefed up patrols and imposed Section 60 stop and search powers across the market town, warning they were "taking these threats seriously".

It comes as knife crime hit a record high in Britain, with more than 44,000 offences recorded in the last year, up by seven per cent.

A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “Following engagement with local schools, partners and parents, we are aware of the rumours circulating regarding fights at the Michaelmas Fair.


“We are taking these threats seriously and officers are continuing to make a number of enquiries into the credibility of these rumours."

Parents were alerted to the "stab night" plans between pupils from across West Bershire.

Students are said to have planned to meet up and goad each other into fights at the fair.

One school letter to parents said: “I am writing to you in order to share information I have recently received from another school, whose parents are concerned about some of the things they have been told by their children about the [Michaelmas] fair taking place in Newbury between October 16 and 19.

“Although the majority of teenagers going to the fair do so to have fun, it seems that some young people are planning to have what they call a ‘stab night’, when students from around West Berkshire plan to confront other groups of students in order to initiate fights.

Although the majority of teenagers going to the fair do so to have fun, it seems that some young people are planning to have what they call a ‘stab night’,

“I have no reason to believe that any students from [our school] are intending to take part in this extremely concerning event, and indeed have no certain evidence that the event is actually going to happen in reality.

“However, I wanted to make you aware in order to inform your decisions about whether or not to allow your children to visit the fair.”

Meanwhile, police-recorded offences involving a knife or sharp instrument rose from 41,158 to 44,076, figures by the Office for National Statistics revealed.

In London, knife crime surged to a record high, with more than 15,000 offences recorded in the last year.

In the past week alone, two 15-year-old boys and a 20-year-old man were fatally knifed as the capital's bloodbath rages on.

Chief executive of charity Barnardo's Javed Khan, said: "It's totally unacceptable that the knife crime crisis continues to claim so many young lives, with offences at a record high."

Berkshire's annual Michaelmas Fair draws thousands of revellers to Goldwell Park, with a huge firework display Friday night.

In 2011, there were complaints about anti-social behaviour and partygoers relieving themselves in residents' gardens.

Police are probing claims about this week's planned "stab night" fight and said the number of officers at the fair would be ramped up.

Superintendent Nicholas John said: "Being stopped and searched does not mean you are in trouble, it is just one method that we are using to ensure weapons are kept off our streets.

“The fair has a long history in Newbury as a fun, family event and we wish it to continue to be just that.

"As a large local event, a policing presence was always planned for the Michaelmas Fair but we will now increase the number of officers attending in order to ensure our enhanced powers under Section 60 can be put into place."

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