Scottish Grand National guests 'urinated in private gardens'

Licensing bosses were left bemused by 'unacceptable' drunken behaviour by horse racing fans during one of the Scottish calendar's most prestigious events.

Scottish Grand National guests ‘urinated in gardens and damaged nearby property’ Ross MacDonald via SNS Group

Ayr Racecourse has been blasted for the behaviour of bar staff brought in for the Scottish Grand National and racegoers who damaged neighbouring property and urinated in private gardens.

The race was held at Ayr Racecourse earlier than normal, on Saturday, April 2, and attracted a crowd of around 13,500.

South Ayrshire Licensing Board will hear the report on the event on Wednesday.

In her report, Licensing Standards Officer Catrina Andrew stated: “On the day of the Scottish Grand National  I attended the Racecourse for a number of hours and carried out checks at the bar areas.

“Besides colleagues from Police Scotland and the majority of licensed stewards, I was one of the few other people wearing a mask, despite the requirement for face coverings still being in place.

“I did not notice any signage at bars, entrances or toilets to encourage face coverings and I am not aware of any announcements or messages to that effect.

“Checks carried out by myself at the various temporary and permanent bar areas on the day quickly demonstrated that the ‘Challenge 25’ message was being ignored by staff and I witnessed NO examples of ID checks.

“I witnessed many examples of staff paying little or no attention to who they were serving, indeed I also observed drinks being handed to people who had not ordered them.

“These examples in my opinion demonstrated that if staff were paying little or no attention to the person they were serving alcohol to then they would not be able to make an appropriate judgement on whether that person had already consumed too much alcohol and therefore should not be served.”

She described one staff member working at the ‘champagne lawns’ telling her he was “too busy” to ask for proof of age but would do it when the bar got quieter.

Even when he did ask for ID, he could not say how old the customer was when Ms Andrew asked him.

One bar which was being run by an external company did not appear to understand the role of licensing standards.

The bar supervisor told her that he did not need to show her a record of customers refused alcohol as “the cost of the ticket to the champagne area meant there would be no underage drinkers”.

Ms Andrew added that there was an agreement that the Scottish National and the Ayr Gold Cup, held in September, were not “family friendly environments” and that the access should be reviewed and only over 18s allowed entry.

She went on to explain: “At the race meeting there were obvious signs of drunkenness and unacceptable behaviour and I am of the opinion that the failures I witnessed at the bars will have contributed considerably to this.

“On exiting the premises many patrons continued with unacceptable behaviour including causing damage to fences and walls in the neighbouring streets and urinating in private gardens and roads.

“Whilst I am aware that this behaviour mainly happened out with the grounds of the Racecourse, I am of the opinion that the alcohol consumed at the Racecourse was the main contributing factor to this behaviour.”

She will ask that the Licensing Board endorse a licensing request for an Alcohol Management Plan to be prepared by Ayr Racecourse and that an application for an Occasional Licence for the Ayr Gold Cup be considered by the Board rather than be granted by officers.

A spokesperson for the Racecourse said: “We note the issues raised in the report during this challenging period for the hospitality industry and we will continue to work with the Licensing Board to ensure our customers are given the best possible raceday experience at Ayr Racecourse.”

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