Drugs problem being ignored says barrister

Pontins sign
Pontins sign

A BARRISTER has accused police of ignoring a drugs problem at music festivals held at Pontins in Camber Sands.

Mark Hapgood QC spoke out at an inquest into the death of 36 year old David Clow, who died after taking ketamine and alcohol at a music festival last June.

Mr Hapgood is also asking questions of Rother District Council over safety arrangements at events.

He said: “The police have said that the drugs of choice at that festival were cocaine and ketamine.

“Is the reason the police do not do anything about a known situation for the sake of a quiet life?”

Coroner Alan Craze said: “That is a very strong statement. There are many events taking place across Sussex at any one time. It could be an issue of resources. You are making a political point here.”

Mr Craze also pointed out that the drug was taken in a chalet after the music had stopped, which would not have been so easy to police.”

Mr Hapgood said: “The issue is also on the door and how drugs got into there to begin with.”

He went on to say: “There is the whole question of signage at the event and how people are directed toward medical attention.

“Only Mr Clow is responsible for taking ketamine but this place was chaotic from first to last. It was a complete shambles.

“According to HSE guidance it is the local authority’s responsibility to ensure there is adequate medical provision at these events.”

Commenting on ketamine he said: “It is a class C drug but is likely to go up to class B.

“It is now thought it is a far more dangerous drug than previously perceived.”

Mr Craze, in adjourning the inquest for six - eight weeks, said: “There is a lot of law in this case and it isn’t easy.

“I deal with around 25 drugs deaths a year and they do not normally involve the HSE but this was at an organised music event which is different.”

He asked for someone from the event organisers to be at the inquest.