West Country Cheese Rolling event branded 'unsafe' with police warning issued

Participants compete in the men's downhill race during the Cheese Rolling contest at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire
-Credit: (Image: AP)

The annual Gloucestershire cheese rolling event near Brockworth has been labelled as 'unsafe', with a warning issued to anyone considering participating on Bank Holiday Monday (May 27). The Tewkesbury Borough Safety Advisory Group (SAG) has once again voiced concerns over public safety at the yearly cheese rolling event on Coopers Hill.

This event draws in thousands of spectators to the site off the A46, with dozens partaking in the chase after the big cheese down the steep hill. Many attendees hail from across the UK and often there are international visitors keen to witness this uniquely Gloucestershire spectacle.

The SAG is comprised of various agencies, including emergency services, who collaborate to ensure high levels of safety and welfare at events by providing advice and guidance. Members have requested that those organising the cheese rolling help them understand their plans for the event and how they intend to manage issues around traffic and parking on the day.

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Despite numerous attempts by the SAG to engage with those individuals responsible for coordinating the day - who bear the responsibility to run a safe event - they have not provided this information or submitted plans detailing how they will safeguard members of the public, according to SAG. A particular concern raised by members of the SAG is how emergency services would be able to respond if there was a major incident with multiple casualties.

At the previous cheese rolling competition, a series of medical emergencies and injuries necessitated urgent care from paramedics. The event saw double-crewed ambulances and rapid response vehicles facing significant delays in reaching the site, placing considerable pressure on the services provided by Gloucestershire Constabulary and South West Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, thereby affecting their ability to respond to emergencies, reports Gloucestershire Live.

Gloucestershire Constabulary's Assistant Chief Constable, Arman Mathieson, commented: "The cheese rolling at Cooper's Hill is a unique tradition in our county and we have no desire to stop it. However, the SAG has again declared the event unsafe and we therefore have a duty to share this with the public."

"We are advising those who intend to attend or participate in the cheese rolling to consider the risk they might be putting themselves at."