A judge has slammed the ‘huge drain’ on taxpayers caused by drug problems at music festivals – after revealing a four-day event required 693 officers to police it.
David Bemrose, 33, had attempted to smuggle cocaine and ecstasy hidden in his bum at the Creamfields Music Festival – a four-day summer popular dance event in Daresbury near Warrington, Cheshire.
Sentencing him, frustrated judge Patrick Thompson told Bemrose that going to ‘Europe’s biggest drug festival’ after going in rehab for cocaine use, was “not the best idea”.
He also has lambasted the number of police officers and costly taxpayer-funded resources needed to combat drug abuse and trafficking at the dance music festival.
Referring to the ‘huge drain’ on the resources of the Cheshire taxpayer, Mr Justice Thompson added: ‘It’s quite an operation trying to fix this.
He also read the number of police who worked each day of the festival – Thursday: 144; Friday: 180; Saturday: 187; and Sunday: 182.
David Bemrose (pictured), 33, from Cheshire, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for attempting to smuggle cocaine and MDMA concealed in his bum at Creamfields Music Festival
Sentencing judge called Creamfields Music Festival ‘Europe’s biggest drugs festival’
The judge continued: “Those who get involved in class A drug trafficking at this festival must understand that when caught, they will face significant punishment.
“Over the past few years, people have lost their lives at the festival and suffered serious injuries from taking Class A drugs.”
At an earlier hearing, Bemrose pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine with intent to supply, possession of ecstasy with intent to supply, and attempted possession of ecstasy with intent to supply.
Last Thursday sentencing prosecutor Clare Jones told the court how the offenses took place around 2.30pm on Saturday August 28 last year.
She said Bemrose, from Lymm, Cheshire, had various bags of drugs in her buttocks which were concealed in balloons.
These bags contained cocaine and MDMA – but seven squeeze bags of what Bemrose believed to contain MDMA actually contained ground caffeine tablet powder.
He admitted to being in possession of drugs and said some were for himself and he would give a quantity to his friends.
Judge Patrick Thompson said Bemrose went to the festival (pictured) to make money selling drugs
But Ms Jones said Bemrose only admitted this after passing various signs warning festival-goers of the consequences of drug use, several amnesty bins and posters. As well as a warning on the tickets.
She also said that when his phone was scanned there were messages saying he was “sorting everyone’s meds”.
The court heard that Bemrose had no previous convictions.
Defending Gareth Roberts said: “He pleaded guilty to what we all know to be very serious offences.”
“He’s a man who’s never been in jail and never had any issues – that in itself is a devastating reality.”
Mr Roberts said Bemrose knew he had brought “shame” and “embarrassment” to his family and was remorseful.
Referring to the messages on Bemrose’s phone, Mr Roberts said they were “just jokes”.
He also told the court that Bemrose suffered from ADHD and that before Creamfields had been in rehab to combat his cocaine use.
But as he sentenced him to two and a half years, Judge Thompson joked: ‘It seems to me that it’s probably not the best idea to get out of rehab and go to Creamfields Music Festival – the most big drug festival in Europe. ‘
He also said it was “completely clear” that Bemrose’s intention was to “make money” and “do drugs” at the festival and that Bemrose was ignoring “sign after sign” and all amnesty dumpsters.
The Creamfields rave event returned in August 2021 after a year off when it was canceled by Covid – and it was Cheshire’s first major music festival since before the first lockdown.
Subsequently, Cheshire Police announced a total of 29 arrests and a further 27 people were to face criminal charges after being removed from the site.
Superintendent Simon Parsonage said at the time: ‘At its peak almost 70,000 people were in attendance and given the numbers it’s fair to say crime and disorder levels were low.
“People were in high spirits and clearly reveling in the opportunity to enjoy events of this nature again after previous cancellations due to the pandemic.
“This year we had an increased presence with Project Servator officers in attendance. The objective of this team was to disrupt a range of criminal activity while providing a reassuring presence to the public.
Project Servator is a nationwide operation that works with partner agencies, including other police forces, businesses and the public, to continue to protect people and make it difficult for criminals and terrorists to operate.
Superintendent Parsonage added: ‘We have recognized that dance festivals of this nature tend to be associated with an increased prevalence of drugs.
“Working with other agencies before and during the weekend, we sought to address this issue.” We had a clear discount policy in place followed by targeted searches at all entrances.
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer said last summer: ‘Creamfields is one of the biggest events we run here in Cheshire, and although a small minority of people don’t didn’t follow the rules, it was great to see the event run well.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in policing the event. It’s nice to see more normality returning as the UK continues to navigate through the coronavirus pandemic.