Page last updated at 11:42 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 12:42 UK

Legal threat as bike show dropped

Motorcycles (library picture)

The organiser of Wales' biggest motorbike show could take legal action after it was cancelled amid fears of violence between rival biker gangs.

The annual Welsh National Motorcycle Show was to have taken place at the Royal Welsh showground in Powys.

But Dyfed-Powys Police said there would be a "significant risk of violence" if it went ahead as planned next week.

Motorcyclists planning to attend the event near Builth Wells between 23 - 26 May have also criticised the decision.

Organiser Steve Bennett said the cancellation would cause "financial suffering".

He said he is considering taking legal action against the Royal Welsh Showground Committee after they called off the event following meetings with police.

There's more violence in any major city on any weekend than you get at any of the bike shows
Steve Bennett, organiser
Mr Bennett said his company Welsh Motorcycle Shows Ltd, which organises the event, had not been part of the discussions and only found out about the cancellation on Tuesday.

But he understood there were fears of clashes between the Hells Angels and the Outlaws.

He said violence between the gangs was "very rare and very sporadic", adding: "To be honest there's more violence in any major city on any weekend than you get at any of the bike shows."

But in a statement, police said: "Dyfed-Powys Police has serious reservations about the potential security implications of holding the Welsh motorcycle show at Builth Wells this year.

"The reservations are based on a significant increase in violence between rival motorcycle gangs across the UK as a whole.

"Nationally a number of motorcycle shows linked to the rival factions are facing challenge under the Licensing Act 2003, as the police believe the shows will be targeted for disturbance and there remains a real risk of serious violence.

Dyfed-Powys Police are of the view that there is a significant risk of violence at this year's Welsh motorcycle show
Dyfed-Powys Police

"Recently the NEC Birmingham cancelled a motorcycle show to protect the safety of everyone involved.

"The organisers of a similar show in Derbyshire have also cancelled that event. Additionally Warwickshire Constabulary is in the process of mounting a legal challenge against a show to be held in their area."

The force added the police believed there was a "significant risk of violence at this year's Welsh motorcycle show."

Mr Bennett said he was considering legal action for traders and entertainers who had been at the event, along with ticket holders.

"We're talking about a significant amount of financial suffering here and an awful lot of money is involved in these events," he added.

Welsh Motorcycle Shows Ltd also organises the Isle of Anglesey Motorcycle Show, which is planned to take place between 22 - 25 August.

Last week, organisers of a rock music festival at Catton Hall in south Derbyshire withdrew their application for a licence amid fears of violence.

Rock show axed over police fears
07 May 08 |  Derbyshire
Biker blessing for county riders
12 Apr 08 |  Leicestershire
MPs apologise for motorbike error
28 Feb 08 |  UK Politics

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific