Royal Ascot to get tough on drink and drugs

Sniffer dogs and breathalysers will be used to clamp down on anti-social behaviour at Royal Ascot next week.

More than 300,000 visitors are expected to descend on the racecourse for flat racing’s showpiece meeting of the summer, which gets underway on Tuesday.

After reviewing its security arrangements for the event, the racecourse said a team of specially trained dogs will be deployed to identify race-goers carrying illegal drugs.

Breathalysers could also be used on punters entering the venue showing ‘overt signs of inebriation’, with entry being refused if they are too drunk.

The sport has grappled with alcohol related violence this year, with brawls breaking out at racecourses including Ascot, York and Goodwood.

Guy Henderson, chief executive officer at Ascot Racecourse, said: “The use of illegal drugs and their contribution to anti-social behaviour is a significant issue for all major events.

“This year we will continue proactively to address these challenges with an increased specialist security team, supported by more visible stewarding around bars and other areas in order to pre-empt incidents arising from excess alcohol consumption or other anti-social behaviour.”

He added that the racecourse would no longer be using ‘beer hawkers’, staff who carry beer to sell in the crowds.

Mr Henderson said: “We want all guests to feel comforted and reassured and we believe that the combination of armed police, patrol dogs and high-level

security will provide this.”

Strike action by South Western Railway workers is still scheduled between Thursday, June 21 and Saturday, June 23.

The dispute concerns rail safety and the axing of guards on South Western Railway, which serves Ascot Station.

A spokesman for the train operator said the company expects to release details of its revised timetable early next week but its door remained open if workers wanted to call off the strike.

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