Strawberry Mare

Killjoy cops have caused the cancellation of this year’s Strawberry Fair, with many blaming their heavy-handedness and wastefulness.

Drugs police strawberry fair weed

It’s been an issue that’s been getting people in a jam for over a month.

But yesterday killjoy police got their way as organisers were forced to call off this year’s Strawberry Fair – after it had been approved by Cambridge Council.

The police had launched an appeal to overturn the permission granted to the event, and organisers were forced to call it off altogether when they realised that they could not afford to fight the appeal at the same time as preparing for the fair.

They were also unwilling to "pass this risk [of cancellation] on to the traders and artists whose livelihoods would be severely damaged by a last minute cancellation" according to Justin Argent, chair of the Strawberry Fair.

Last year, over 20 000 people enjoyed the festivities, aimed at both adults and kids.

On the official website, organisers blamed the fuzz’s “continuing hostility” for the decision.

The force said that the event was a magnet for crime – but it looks like police wastefulness is to blame.

The cost to taxpayers' for policing the event last year was £83,000 on officers' salaries alone, despite other larger events costing much less.

Argent was furious about the cancellation, but vowed to battle the police again in 2011.

"The police appeal of the decision made by Cambridge City Council means that we now have to put all our efforts into fighting it, and not the fair itself.

“We feel the police action shows just how far out of step they are with the people of Cambridge, who have shown overwhelming support for the event.

“Had the same enthusiasm been spent on working with us rather than fighting us, many of the key concerns would have been dealt with."

In a jam: the filth come down heavy on one reveller.

Jennifer Liddle, chair of the city council's licensing committee, said: "The licensing committee of the city council decided that the new-look Strawberry Fair should be granted a licence.

"It is a great shame that an unelected and unaccountable police force decided to ignore that decision and lodge an appeal.

"Not only is their decision to try to ban Strawberry Fair undemocratic, it has also cost an enormous amount of money for the police to pay for solicitors and consultants' reports, and is now going to cost even more money on the appeal.

The fair was launched in 1974 by a collection of Cambridge University students as an alternative to the May balls.

It offers a host of musical and other entertainment – and a fair amount of illicit substances.

Defending the ban, cowardly cop Chief Superintendent Rob Needle blamed drug use – and people relieving themselves in public.

“ Last year there were 73 arrests, 244 people were given formal warnings for cannabis possession and eight were given penalty notices for urinating in public."

"We are disappointed that the fair committee seeks to blame us for the cancellation of this year's event."

Sam Mathews, of Riverside, who runs The Punting Company, was saddened by the announcement and is moving to London – branding Cambridge "dull".

He said: "It is sad that this event has been cancelled. Cambridge is now becoming like any other town. It's becoming as dull as Milton Keynes.”

But miserable Councellor Geoffrey Heathcock, said the rule of law must be maintained.

He said: "I have some sympathy with the constabulary who have to deploy resources always stretched and always in significant demand.

“At the end of the day, public order has to be maintained."