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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 09:45 GMT 10:45 UK
Tearoom bouncers tackle fair fear
Stow Horse Fair
The Stow Horse Fair has been running for more than 500 years
A Cotswold tearoom has employed bouncers to head off trouble during this week's Gypsy horse fair at Stow.

Locals claim trouble at the twice-yearly event is getting out of hand with many traders shutting up shop to avoid problems.

But Ed Simpson, who runs the Ann Willows tea shop, has taken on door staff to prevent theft and vandalism.

The Gypsy Council says reports of anti-social behaviour have been blown out of proportion.

A tea shop in a small Cotswold town having door staff on it is a bit ridiculous, but that's what you have to do
Ed Simpson
The fair dates back to the 1400s and now draws hundreds of travellers in May and October.

Following complaints, police have stepped up their numbers and drafted in officers from neighbouring forces including Warwickshire and Thames Valley.

Mr Simpson said: "I'm staying open because I can't really afford to close, but it means you have to pay for door staff.

"And when you think about it, a tea shop in a small Cotswold town having door staff on it is a bit ridiculous, but that's what you have to do."

But one Gypsy told the BBC: "It's other people causing trouble for us. We're decent people. Gypsies aren't like that, people just don't like us."

Shopkeeper, Vera Norwood, who sits on the Gypsy Council's education committee, added: "There are lot of people who've moved here recently and they don't understand the fair.

"When they moved here they should've known it's been happening for hundreds of years and they love to exaggerate anything that does go wrong."




SEE ALSO:
Study plans to end historic fair
21 Jul 05 |  Gloucestershire


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