- By Alex Pope and PA News
- BBC News, Northamptonshire
Animal rights activists disrupted a major greyhound racing event by climbing scaffolding at the track.
Animal Rising said it took the action at Towcester Racecourse to prevent races at the upcoming English Greyhound Derby.
The racecourse said “illegal and reckless intentions” cost them “tens of thousands of pounds”.
It comes after Northamptonshire Police arrested three suspected animal rights activists prior to the event.
Animal Rising said members had entered the track and climbed onto the scaffolding, adding: “While everyone is still aloft, the racecourse has been completely closed.”
Northamptonshire Police said: “The force has deployed specialist officers who are working alongside site security to remove three people who have illegally trespassed on the site.”
It comes after two men, aged 41 and 26, and a woman, 33, were arrested before the event, as part of a “public safety operation”, assisted by the Metropolitan Police .
A spokesperson for Northamptonshire Police said it was “conducting a significant containment operation for the event following threats in recent weeks from Animal Rising activists who have warned that they plan to break it”.
Speaking ahead of the event, Inspector Pete Basham said: “Today we will facilitate everyone’s legal right to protest, but I wanted to send a message to anyone who intends to disrupt the situation. sued today that we will take strong action against them if they break the law and affect spectators’ enjoyment of races.”
Keith Boothby, chief executive of the course, speaking before the event, said: “Their illegal and reckless intentions on Saturday night have cost our operation dearly.
“Tens of thousands of pounds have been invested in additional security measures, which will be noticeable even to casual riders of the night.”
He said he met with the members of Animal Rising so that “they can inform their plans for the evening while we have a platform to reiterate our core concerns”.
Animal Rising said: “Those arrested by the police are peaceful advocates trying to protect dogs.
“We will continue with the intention of disrupting the Greyhound Derby final.”