Reading Festival police given extra powers

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Police have been given extra powers to deal with troublemakers at this year's Reading Festival after large fires were started at the 2009 event.

Groups of people set tents, hedgerows and rubbish on fire, while fencing was also ripped up.

A dispersal order will be used to break up large groups of people outside the site of the three-day festival, which starts on 27 August.

Police will also use the powers against "aggressive" illegal ticket touts.

Police signed the dispersal order with Reading Borough Council, which is also running a hotline to help with residents' concerns.

A council spokesperson said: "Experience from other festivals and events shows that crime drops significantly when a dispersal order is put in place."

Following on from last year's disorder, festival promoters Festival Republic warned last month that they will seek to prosecute any troublemakers.

A new scheme which restricts when fans can bring alcohol on to the site will also be piloted this year. Thames Valley Police is also drafting in extra officers.

This year's event will be headlined by Guns N' Roses, Arcade Fire and Blink-182 and there will also be an appearance from the re-formed Libertines.

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