Fireworks display cancelled after staff members threatened

Organisers said that they could 'no longer guarantee the safety' of attendees, staff and animals.

Fawkes Festival fireworks display in Kilmarnock cancelled after staff members threatened Fawkes Festival

A fireworks display was cancelled on Tuesday evening after threats were made towards members of staff, a council trust claimed.

On Sunday, Fawkes Festival held its first event at Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock.

Concerns for animals living in the park were raised by the Scottish SPCA, which called for Tuesday’s event to be cancelled.

East Ayrshire Leisure Trust claimed that the welfare of animals was under threat as members of the public had threatened to gain unauthorised access to animal pens.

It added that the threats meant it could “no longer guarantee the safety” of attendees, staff and animals, and in turn had made the decision to cancel the event.

Chief officer Anneke Freel said “We have a zero tolerance policy with regards to threatening/inappropriate behaviour towards all members of our team and the risks have become too great to ignore. All threats have been documented and police have been contacted.

“Health and safety is of paramount importance to our organisation and due to the nature and number of these unauthorised access threats, we can no longer guarantee the safety of the large number of public who are due to attend the event this evening, our staff and the animals.

“The welfare of our animals is also under threat with members of the public threatening to gain unauthorised access to animal pens. Although not the intention, this would cause undue stress, which has the potential to put our staff and customers at further risk.”

The Fawkes Festival and East Ayrshire Leisure Trust team are now working closely together to contact all members of the public who were due to attend the event to advise them of the cancellation. 

Refunds will be processed automatically via the ticket platform.

The first event was held on Sunday, which was a sell out with 4,000 people in attendance.

It was announced earlier this month that Dean Castle was the fastest ever selling Fawkes Festival event, and the decision had been made to offer an additional event to accommodate those who had missed out.

The event on Tuesday evening was equally popular and was expected to sell out, the trust said.

Scottish SPCA inspector, Caitlin Rea, said, “We’re are grateful that East Ayrshire Leisure Trust have listened to our concerns regarding the impact of setting fireworks off in such close proximity to animals that are housed on site and cancelled the planned fireworks display at Dean Castle Country Park.

“Although we appreciate this will be really disappointing for members of the public who were looking forward to the event, we had serious concerns over the use of fireworks in such close proximity to animals that are housed on site. We were also extremely worried about the deer at the park as they would have nowhere to hide nor the opportunity to move away.

“We are actively campaigning for proper usage of fireworks in a safe, controlled environment to ensure that animals, including pets and wildlife, as well as humans are not exposed to unnecessary stress or danger.

“Going forward, the local community can ask the council to consider the area part of a ‘firework control zone’ for next year. Our recommendation would be that fireworks are not set off in this location and alternatives should be sought such as the use of drones which have proved successful at other events.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We have received a complaint of threatening online communications and enquiries are ongoing.”

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