South Scotland

T in the Park Deadmau5 flare-waver risks prison term

Image caption Woodward admitted waving a flare during a set by Deadmau5

A festival-goer has been told he could be jailed for endangering fans by waving a flare during a set by Deadmau5 at this year's T in the Park.

The DJ was midway through his act when Scott Woodward produced the lit flare causing people to run away.

The 22-year-old, of Ashgrove, Dumfries, admitted having the flare at the festival in Balado on 10 July.

A sheriff told him he had "reached the custodial threshold" with the offence.

Perth Sheriff Court was told that Woodward had the lit flare - normally used to alert coastguards - while sitting on another man's shoulders less than 20 yards from the stage.

The court heard that a number of people moved away from the area around the flare, which was pumping out red smoke, as it took three minutes to burn out.

He admitted placing other people in a large crowd at risk of injury if he fell from his friend's shoulders or dropped the lit flare on the ground.

Fiscal depute John Malpass said there had been clear warnings about such actions at the festival.

"A message was put on the large screens to say anyone lighting flares would be liable to be prosecuted," he said.

"The organisers even took the step of putting it on their Facebook page to say flares were banned from any part of the venue."

The court was told how members of security became aware of a flare in the crowd and then saw Woodward on another person's shoulders carrying it.

Mr Malpass added: "It was in a heavily congested area of the crowd. He was approximately 50 feet from the stage.

"It caused numerous persons directly in front of the accused to move away."

The court heard the incident had been recorded on CCTV and security staff entered the crowd and managed to trace Woodward.

Solicitor Billy Somerville, defending, said: "It is the type of flare which is used when persons are in distress at sea and can be purchased without any licence.

"He accepts he was there and someone, one of his friends, handed him the flare.

"It was lit for around three minutes - obviously if it was dropped there is a high temperature involved and people could be injured."

'Very frightening'

Sheriff Robert McCreadie said there was a wider issue of crowd control which had "potentially serious consequences".

"That was in the mind of the organisers when they explicitly banned the use of such items," he said.

"A crowd can be very frightening indeed if it moves in an unexpected way.

"It is not simply a stupid man holding up a flare in direct defiance of what he was told.

"It is an offence against public order and has reached the custodial threshold."

He deferred sentence on Woodward until next month for the preparation of reports and to enable him to view footage of the incident from the CCTV.

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