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Last Updated: Monday, 26 June 2006, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Policing worries over 'near-riot'
Police cars in Criccieth, from an amateur video
A still from amateur video footage shows police cars in the town centre
Town leaders in Criccieth, Gwynedd, have called an urgent meeting after a Saturday night "near-riot".

Police said 300 people were in the area, with 15-20 directly involved in a disturbance in the town centre.

There were six arrests, and two police officers needed medical treatment after being injured. They have been released from hospital.

North Wales Police defended their actions but said there would be a review of policing in the area.

Criccieth Town Council clerk Robin Hughes called it a "near-riot" and raised concerns about policing levels.

Fifteen to 20 were actually involved, but clearly bottles were being thrown from the crowd, others had consumed alcohol and we were right to be concerned
Ch Supt Gareth Pritchard

Mr Hughes said the incident at the weekend was "totally unacceptable", and a greater police presence was needed in the town whenever there was a large gathering.

Ch Supt Gareth Pritchard from the North Wales Police defended the force's actions but said there would be a review of policing in the area following the incident. A meeting had been arranged between the town council and the police, he said.

He said there also needed to be a review of the local licensing arrangements because so many people were carrying bottles out on the streets.

Reinforcements were called to the town from the Meirionnydd and Arfon areas of Gwynedd.

Chief superintendent Gareth Pritchard
Ch Supt Gareth Pritchard defended the policing in Criccieth

"There were 300 people on the street, 15 - 20 were actually involved but clearly bottles were being thrown from the crowd, others had consumed alcohol and we were right to be concerned about that number of people with a disturbance taking place," he said.

Mr Hughes said: "Gangs come here from Porthmadog and Pwllheli, because of the police presence in those towns. Surely Criccieth deserves the same protection."

Fixed penalty tickets

"At this rate local people will be fearing for their lives and property and the sooner we have a meeting with the police the better," he added.

Gwynedd county councillor Henry Jones said he had driven through the town at about 1200 BST on Saturday, and had seen around 100 people and about 25 police cars.

Mr Jones dismissed rumours that the disturbance may have had something to do with the annual Criccieth Festival, which was coming to an end on Sunday, saying: "That went smoothly and very successfully."

He said police seemed to have handled the incident efficiently, and added they were doing "their best" in the town.

The disturbance continued in the small Llyn peninsula coastal town until about 0100 BST on Sunday.

Police said in addition to the arrests, fixed penalty tickets were also issued.


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Watch amateur footage of the Criccieth disturbance



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