19 animal rights activists arrested after planning to disrupt Epsom Derby, as police make dawn raid

3 June 2023, 11:37 | Updated: 3 June 2023, 11:52

19 people have been arrested ahead of the second day of the Epsom Derby
19 people have been arrested ahead of the second day of the Epsom Derby. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Nineteen people have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit public nuisance ahead of the Epsom Derby Festival, police have said.

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Surrey Police said 11 people were arrested at addresses in Mitcham and Byfleet in the early hours of the morning following warrants based on intelligence received ahead of the festival.

Eight people were also arrested after a vehicle stopped in Burgh Heath at about 10.20am.

All of them remain remain in police custody.

Activists from the group Animal Rising had pledged to "cancel or severely delay" the Derby in the lead-up to the event. Writing on Twitter, the group claimed it was willing to "put their bodies on the line".

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Animal Rising activists protest outside the main gates on the second day of the Epsom Derby Festival
Animal Rising activists protest outside the main gates on the second day of the Epsom Derby Festival. Picture: Getty

It comes after Mike Tindall said he wishes animal rights activists would "go and spend a bit of time at professional yards" to see how well horses are looked after.

The former England rugby player will be joined by his wife Zara Tindall, daughter of the Princess Royal, at Epsom on Saturday.

A race at the Epsom Derby on Friday
A race at the Epsom Derby on Friday. Picture: Getty

The late Queen's granddaughter competed in the London 2012 Olympics, winning a team eventing silver medal, which was presented by her mother Princess Anne.

When asked if he is hoping protesters stay off the track on Saturday, Mr Tindall said: "Yes, of course. I wish they would just go and spend a bit of time at professional yards and have a look at how well the horses are looked after.

Spectators enjoying the Epsom Derby
Spectators enjoying the Epsom Derby. Picture: Getty

"I know how well my wife looks after her horses and how much she cares for them. They are like people.

"I've been to AP McCoy's yard where he's been having a birthday party for one of the horses. They are treated unbelievably well.

"Unfortunately, tragedy happens in the wild probably more than it does on the track and people forget this.

"All you can say is I know how well every trainer looks after their horse and every jockey cares about their horse, and you just wish they'd see that a bit more."

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