Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 17:44 UK

Police apply for Bulldog review

A biker arrives for the Bulldog Bash (pic: Rui Vieira/PA Wire)
The event is attended by thousands of people

Officers trying to stop an annual biker event have started proceedings to get its 10-year licence reviewed.

The Hells Angel-organised Bulldog Bash, held at Long Marston Airfield, near Stratford-on-Avon, was granted the licence by the council last year.

A previous application to review the licence was declined by the council.

Warwickshire Police have said they believe the event is associated with organised crime, but organisers say the claim is unfounded.

Police have said the recent escalation in violence between the Outlaws and Hells Angels, gangs which have an ongoing feud, means innocent members of the public could be put at risk.

Last week, seven bikers were jailed for their parts in rioting between two rival gangs at Birmingham Airport.

Before that, Hells Angel Gerry Tobin was shot dead on the nearby M40 in Warwickshire after leaving the Bulldog Bash in 2007.

We have intelligence that shows the Bulldog Bash event is used to fundraise for activities that cause harm to the public regionally, nationally and internationally
Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland

The seven men later jailed for his murder turned out to be the entire Chapter of the South Warwickshire Outlaws, based in Coventry.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Holland said the force had made it quite clear it does not want the Bulldog Bash to take place in Warwickshire.

The next event is due to run from 6 to 9 August.

"The Hells Angels are an organised crime group recognised by five forces in the UK and by many police services and some countries internationally.

"We have intelligence that shows the Bulldog Bash event is used to fundraise for activities that cause harm to the public regionally, nationally and internationally."

'Praised safety'

Earlier, a spokesman for the Bulldog Bash said there was "absolutely no evidence" of any threat of serious harm to the public and added that in the past police had praised the safety and organisation of the event.

"In the past the police and the local council have actually praised the safety and organisation of the event," he said.

Police said that under section 53a of the Licensing Act 2003 a senior police officer can ask for a hearing of the planning authority to be held within 28 days, if the police believe the event is associated with serious criminality.

An earlier application was made for a review of the licence conditions as this was rejected.

In a statement Stratford District Council said: "The district council can confirm it has received a second notification from Warwickshire Police for a review of the Bulldog Licence.

"At this time we must let due process take its course and no further comment will be made."

A date for the hearing has not yet been set.



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