Cheltenham Festival

Police arrest two Guinness Village bar staff employees on suspicion of fraud at Cheltenham Festival

Three arrests were made on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, including two members of the racecourse's bar staff who were arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Local police confirmed two men in their 20s have since been released on police bail. It is understood they were working at the Guinness Village and had stolen money. The Jockey Club operates Cheltenham as a cashless venue and declined to comment when contacted by the Racing Post with further police enquiries pending.

Meanwhile, a 31-year-old man from Birmingham was arrested for assaulting a member of staff and causing actual bodily harm to a police officer. He has been released but remains under investigation.

A statement from Gloucestershire Police read: "Police responded to a report of an assault near to the Centaur building at Cheltenham Racecourse on Tuesday afternoon. It was reported that a man had assaulted a member of staff and a police officer. A 31-year-old man from Birmingham was subsequently arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer and assault causing actual bodily harm. He has since been released under investigation pending further enquiries. 

"Two men aged in their 20s who were working in a bar were arrested on suspicion of fraud offences. They have since been released on police bail pending further enquiries."

Police also dealt with a flare which had been set off in the closing stages of Constitution Hill's victory in the Champion Hurdle. Pyrotechnics are banned from all racecourses in Britain but are more commonly problematic at football matches. An FA statement in May said there had been a rise in use of pyrotechnics, flares and smoke devices being brought into stadiums.

There were no injuries or arrests made following Tuesday's incident. The flare was white, the same colour worn by Constitution Hill's jockey Nico de Boinville.

The incidents came on the day the Jockey Club launched a campaign to combat anti-social behaviour from racegoers on the main routes out of the racecourse after racing. The police reported no incidents when asked by the Racing Post, although some local residents posted images on social media of racegoers urinating. The Love Our Turf campaign was created following multiple complaints of racegoers' urinating in front gardens and in Pittville Park last year.

Read these next:

Cost of living crisis blamed for alarming drop in Cheltenham crowd figures - but what is driving the downturn? 

'You don't wait two hours to get out of Wembley' - Cheltenham racegoers on the festival experience 

'The strikes have definitely had an impact' - Cheltenham boss reacts to big drop in crowds 

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James StevensWest Country correspondent
Published on 17 March 2023Last updated 19:25, 17 March 2023