Ge­og­ra­phy ‘is town’s best ter­ror de­fence’

Scot­tish Show­men’s Guild chair­man down­plays Lam­mas Mar­ket fears

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - Jonathan Wat­son jowat­son@the­courier.co.uk

St An­drews’ ge­og­ra­phy is one of the best de­fences against any ter­ror threat to the Lam­mas Mar­ket, it has been claimed.

Billy Ham­mond, chair­man of the Scot­tish Show­men’s Guild, has said the prospect of a Nice-style ter­ror at­tack is min­i­mal ahead of the re­turn of the St An­drews fair next month.

It comes just months af­ter a huge se­cu­rity op­er­a­tion was ini­ti­ated for the Links Mar­ket fol­low­ing fears that a lorry could be used to plough through rev­ellers en­joy­ing the Kirk­caldy fair.

There, lor­ries were used to block­ade ei­ther end of the event, while a highly vis­i­ble po­lice and pri­vate se­cu­rity pres­ence was lo­cated both in­side and at the perime­ter of the site.

How­ever, con­fi­dent that such mea­sures were not re­quired at St An­drews, Mr Ham­mond said: “The lay­out of the town is a bit dif­fer­ent.

“The is­sue with the Links Mar­ket was be­cause of the prom­e­nade where ve­hi­cles could pick up speed.

“The Lam­mas Mar­ket is a bit closer to junc­tion and tight bends so it’s a bit dif­fer­ent.”

The chang­ing na­ture of ter­ror at­tacks has seen sig­nif­i­cant re­views of how heav­ily crowded pub­lic places are kept se­cure.

With ve­hi­cles hav­ing be­come a weapon of choice in at­tacks in Nice, Stock­holm, Berlin and Lon­don in re­cent months, au­thor­i­ties have started to adopt mea­sures to pro­tect mem­bers of the pub­lic.

While lor­ries were used as a makeshift bar­rier at the Links Mar­ket, last week it was con­firmed anti-ter­ror­ism bar­ri­ers are to be in­stalled in parts of Ed­in­burgh to pro­tect fes­ti­val-go­ers there.

While un­able to re­veal spe­cific se­cu­rity ar­range­ments, In­spec­tor John Docherty of St An­drews Po­lice Sta­tion said: “The Lam­mas Mar­ket is en­joyed by thou­sands of peo­ple every year and those at­tend­ing can be as­sured that an ap­pro­pri­ate polic­ing plan is in place.”

While there is not be­lieved to be any spe­cific threat against the event, lo­cal coun­cil­lor Jane Ann Liston also called on thrill-seek­ers to re­main vig­i­lant through­out the fes­tiv­i­ties.

She said: “Let’s keep a sense of pro­por­tion and a proper bal­ance be­tween vig­i­lance and en­joy­ing the mar­ket.”

The is­sue with the Links Mar­ket was be­cause of the prom­e­nade where ve­hi­cles could pick up speed. BILLY HAM­MOND

Cess­ford/Steve MacDougall. Pic­tures: Kim

The Lam­mas Mar­ket is one of the most pop­u­lar events in St An­drews’ cal­en­dar.

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