Police have defended their decision to spend £1.4 million on an operation to control a controversial motorcycle festival.
Organisers of the Bulldog Bash, which begins at Long Marston, near Stratford-upon-Avon, on Thursday, described the security measures as “over-the-top” and a “waste of public money”.
Warwickshire Police said the extra road closures and stop and searches were necessary following the death of Hell’s Angel Gerard Tobin last year.
Tobin, aged 35, was shot on the M40 motorway as he left the festival.
Warwickshire’s Assistant Chief Constable, Bill Holland, said the police operation would cover all routes into the area, and would therefore cost more than the £100,000 spent last year.
He said: “The policing operation is designed primarily to deter people who may be intending to disrupt the event or to attack people going to and from the event.
“With something like this we are dealing with criminal intelligence. We also have to use professional judgment and my judgment was that we needed to run this operation to ensure people are safe.”
Warwickshire Police had objected to Stratford District Council’s decision to grant the Bulldog Bash organisers a licence this year.
Festival organiser John Britt said the police operation was a “knee-jerk reaction” to being overruled by the council.
“£1.4 million seems an awful lot of money. I think it’s a gross waste of local people’s money.”
Around 20,000 are expected to attend the Bulldog Bash festival.
* Several men are due to stand trial on October 2 in connection with Tobin’s murder.