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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 15:32 GMT 16:32 UK
Stalkers banned from Wimbledon
Maria Sharapova
A man who is said to have lunged at Sharapova has received a letter
Ten stalkers have been sent letters warning them not to attend Wimbledon.

Police have acted against several individuals known to be regular stalkers of players and other dignitaries expected at the tournament.

One of them, a man from Hove, East Sussex, who is reported to have tried to lunge at champion Maria Sharapova, has been visited by officers.

The security measures at the 2005 event also include a record number of police, after 85 arrests were made last year.

Supt Simon Ovens, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "We are aware of a number of regular stalkers so we do have specific security action around them."

He said officers were briefed on individuals, if they do get in they will be asked to leave but can only be arrested if they commit a crime.

Cool-boxes banned

"The message is we don't want you here, the club doesn't want you here and the players don't want you here," he said.

"The people that pay to come here and watch matches don't want you to disrupt them."

Mr Ovens refused to confirm how many officers were at the event although he said it was slightly up from last year.

Last year's arrests were mainly for carrying knives and tear gas or drunken behaviour, a few were streakers.

Wimbledon tennis courts
Supt Ovens said there is "no specific threat" to Wimbledon

About 30 ticket touts were also prosecuted.

No hard-sided picnic hampers, cool-boxes or briefcases will be allowed in to this year's tournament, as they are easier to hide weapons in.

Knives and metal cutlery will be confiscated on entry.

Mr Ovens said a 20-year-old woman from continental Europe was arrested on Monday morning for possession of CS spray.

The gas was confiscated and she was cautioned before being allowed into the ground.

"There's no specific threat against the Championships but obviously we live in complicated times and there is a threat level regarding international terrorism to the whole of the UK," Supt Ovens said.

He admitted the success of the security operation at Wimbledon is likely to be scrutinised as Olympic assessors decide whether London should host the games in 2012.

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29 Sep 04 |  Somerset

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