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Figures reveal extent of crime at T in the Park

NEW figures show the extent of criminal behaviour at the former home of T in the Park as the music festival switches locations.

CHEERS: Most music fans are praised by police.
CHEERS: Most music fans are praised by police.

The 10 events held between 2004 and 2013 at Balado in Kinross-shire, which latterly attracted up to 85,000 per day, were hit by a total of more than 3600 incidents.

These included three attempted murders, 10 sexual assaults, an abduction and more than 2000 drugs offences.

As the festival moves to ­Strathallan in Perthshire, ­statistics released by Police ­Scotland show crime figures rose significantly over the period, from 289 in 2004 to 502 last year, although this also reflects an increase in capacity from 2011.

It is understood the number of drugs seizures, which more than doubled, had risen mainly due to better search techniques and an increased 'zero tolerance' approach to drug use.

Over the decade there were 200 instances of drugs supply and 2104 of possession plus 19 robberies, 11 serious assaults, eight indecent assaults, 18 offences of weapons possession, 145 minor assaults and 875 thefts.

It cost a total of £3.6 million to police the events over the decade.

Superintendent Jim Leslie, of Police Scotland, said the force worked closely with organisers. He said: "Planning for each year commences with a review of lessons learned from the year before, looking to identify where improvements can be made.

"This has seen changes made to patrol patterns, queuing systems, preventative patrols, etc to tackle any emerging crime trends.

"Police Scotland gathers intelligence from other music festivals to identify any new issues, and there are regular management meetings throughout the weekend to share information and agree responses to any crime patterns.

"Whilst crime rates remain low, given the nature and scale of the event, we are not complacent."

A police source added that the increase in drugs detections is down to new developments relating to searches at the entrance gates and between the campsite and main arena.

The clampdown continued at this year's event through a new queuing system introduced by a security company.

A T in the Park spokeswoman said: "Safety is our number one priority and our record is excellent.

"The vast majority of fans are praised each year by the police for their positive behaviour and our arrest figures continue to be low considering that the festival becomes Scotland's fifth largest 'city' over the weekend."

Already, a legal bid has been raised by residents who do not want to the festival to move to its proposed new home in Strathallan, Perthshire.

Mark and Kim Liddiard, who have lived in area for eight years, say they have not be consulted about plans to relocate the event and only heard about it through media reports.

Mrs Liddiard, 56, said the local waterway, Machany Water, would suffer and would be severely damaged. She and her husband also raised concern about the risk to local wildlife and protected animals, including ospreys, kites, skylarks, bats and otters.

Festival organiser DFC has not been required by Perth and Kinross Council to lodge a planning application to change the venue. The council said planning permission would only be required if the event and clean-up lasted 28 days, however it would still have to apply for all of the required licences.

Event organisers say they were building a positive relationship with the local community in Strathallan.

They said they had spoken to a number of residents close to the new site and this process was ongoing.

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