West End boss hits out at Boris Johnson after football fans climb on theatre

·2-min read
Debris covers a street in London’s Leicester Square after Italy won the Uefa Euro 2020 Final against England (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)
Debris covers a street in London’s Leicester Square after Italy won the Uefa Euro 2020 Final against England (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

A West End boss has criticised Boris Johnson after football fans scaled the walls of one of his theatres before the Euro 2020 final.

Sir Cameron Mackintosh wrote a letter to the Prime Minister detailing how around 50 people broke through fencing at Wyndham’s Theatre and climbed on to the delicate canopy of the 19th century, Grade II listed building.

The impresario, who looks after a number of West End venues, said repair costs to the theatre are thought to be in the “tens of thousands”.

In his letter he said: “Despite similar incidents after the semi-final, the police appeared insufficiently resourced to deal with this vandalism and the danger posed to the trespassers, and it was only later that riot police finally arrived.

“No doubt, had England won the match - which we were all rooting for - the situation would have greatly worsened later in the evening.

“Significant damage was inflicted on the theatre, with repairs estimated in the tens of thousands, and the incident could easily have resulted in serious injury or fatality.”

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It comes just days after football fans were gathered across central London ahead of England’s game against Italy at Wembley Stadium.

Some fans, dubbed “drunken yobs” by critics, were spotted scaling buses, cinemas and restaurants, as well as letting off flares and fireworks in Leicester Square.

Cleaners picked up almost 30 tonnes of rubbish following the final after fans trashed the city with beer cans and pizza boxes.

Hundreds of staff worked for up to 19 hours hours cleaning the streets of London in large scale operations during and after Sunday’s match at Wembley Stadium.

Sir Cameron went on to ask why theatres have only been allowed to open with a capacity of 50 per cent while “tens of thousands of people” were allowed to head to central London with “seemingly little to no crowd management”.

His letter comes days before most restrictions are lifted on July 19, also known as Freedom Day.

There will no longer be any limits on how many people can meet and the social distancing rule will be removed.

But nightclubs and other venues with large crowds will be encouraged to use Covid status certification “as a matter of social responsibility”, the prime minister said.

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