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Emergency services unable to cope with ‘comatose teens’ at Sidmouth fair

PUBLISHED: 20:00 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:17 11 October 2017

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The number of teenagers found collapsed from cocktails of drugs and alcohol after Sidmouth Fair left ambulance staff unable to cope.

Police said from 10pm onwards, on September 23, they were forced to offer first aid themselves to help relieve paramedics trying to deal with a succession of ‘comatose teenagers’ which were found collapsed and in some cases ‘unconscious’ through ‘alcohol, legal highs and ecstasy or a cocktail of all three’.

The news comes as police call for the fair’s organisers to hire their own security.

A letter from Sergeant Andy Squires revealing what happened on the night was read out at the latest Sidmouth Town Council meeting, on Monday.

It said officers were forced had to step in and offer first aid themselves to assist paramedics but kept being called away to break-up fights and scuffles in the fair ground.

He added: “If the fair ground had their own security staff as it does in other areas in East Devon a lot of these scuffles would be nipped in the bud, leaving us to care for very vulnerable people, including youths that have to take priority.

“You could take the moral high ground and say they shouldn’t have got themselves to that stage in the first place but never the less we are working on that. However it’s inconsequential when they are flat out on the ground in front of us.

“I would like to say I am in full support of the carnival itself – it is a lovely good-natured family event enjoyed by all but the funfair is becoming an enormous drain on resources.

“The fair is well run and the operators of the fair do all they can to ensure that it’s efficiently run.”

Sgt Squires requested the town council, which is the trustee of The Ham where the fair is held, place a condition that the fair employs its own security like it does in Axminster and other places around East Devon.

Organisers of the fair, which attracts hundreds of visitors, have already agreed to the requests from police that it hires its own security like it does elsewhere in East Devon.

Town Clerk Christopher Holland said he had already contacted the fair provider to see if they would be willing to do this in principle and they have said they would.

Councillor Dawn Manley said it was called a fun fair but it wasn’t fun for anybody if there were lots of unwell young people.

She added: “I know that all parents love and care for their children but we all have to take responsibility for this and the youngsters.

“So if there are people out there that are happy to buy spirits for youngsters please think again.

“Luckily there were no fatalities but we know from the national press that on occasion that does happen.

“You don’t have to go out and get out of it to have a good time, you can enjoy the rides and enjoy being out of an evening.”

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