Immediately following the publication of our festival licence hearing coverage, we received the following e-mail from someone living in Liverpool:-
While I thank you for the informative article written and published last night, I would like to voice my objection to the comments made about arrests at last years festival.
I am sure that you are correct in saying that 37% of arrests made at Glastonbury 2002 were of people from Merseyside, but I do not see how this has any relevance to the article. I think that I would have overlooked this piece of information if it had not been followed by "no surprises there then!". I am sure that this was meant as a joke, but by publishing such comments in a article which is likely to be widely read by people from all around the UK, as well as people living abroad, you are giving the public reason to believe that all residents from Merseyside are likely to behave in a way which may lead to them being arrested. This is simply unfair. As a Liverpudlian, I feel that the county needs no such publicity, and I am most disappointed and offended that this comment was allowed to be included in an article as serious and seemingly well written as yours.
Now clearly we at VF appreciate this sentiment, and we certainly didn't set out to offend the many great and wonderful people who live in or hail from the area around the banks of the Mersey. However, it is sadly the case that there is has been a trend developing over recent years where it seems that a large number of organised groups of criminals have been working out of Liverpool and the surrounding area and targeting music festival goers for robbery and theft.
This is a well recognised fact amongst regular festival goers, and it is what led to the widespread joke at Glastonbury 2002 that they shouldn't have put the fence around the festival, they should have put it around Liverpool.
Now we want to repeat ourselves here, and make it quite clear that we are not tarring everyone in that city with the same brush - nor are we saying that every Scouser at a festival is a potential thief. Everywhere has it's criminal culture of course - it just so happens that organised criminals from the Mersey have seemingly opted to add festivals to the more common list of car theft and burglary.
What we would like to say to the people of Liverpool (and, for that matter, everyone in the UK) is this: if you know of anyone who you believe is heading down to Glastonbury (or any of the other major UK festivals) with the intention of committing criminal offences then please do the right thing and let the police know. If you contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 in confidence then they can alert the authorities monitoring the festival, and hopefully crimes can be stopped before they have been committed.
Festivals are about a spirit of freedom and enjoyment - a celebration of all the good things in life. Help us to stop those small minded people who seem intent upon ruining this great way of life!