THE HELLS Angels rode into Brighton yesterday.

The bikers descended on the city’s seafront at about 3.30pm and were met with a heavy police presence in Madeira Drive including officers on horseback.

Before the event a police statement said that 3,000 members and 700 motorbikes, mostly Harley-Davidsons, were expected to take part.

The Argus:

An officer also confirmed the police helicopter had been deployed in the area to keep an eye on proceedings and was seen hovering over the event throughout the afternoon.

But a Sussex Police spokesman said yesterday that there were “fewer participants than expected”.

Motorcycle enthusiast David How travelled from Crawley to see the bikers but said he was “slightly disappointed” with the turn-out.

The Argus:

The 56-year-old said: “I’m not a Hells Angel. I came for the spectacle but there isn’t one.

“I have seen more police officers than bikers, they were obviously predicting trouble.

“But I have got nothing bad to say about the Hells Angels at all. In any large group there is always going to be one bad apple who gives them a bad reputation, but they do a lot of good.

“I have been involved in a lot of the charity events they organise, but they can’t do anything right in the eyes of some people, it’s a real shame.”

The Argus:

Brighton was the end point of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club’s Euro Run, a mass “ride out” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the club’s first UK branch.

The group met at Pease Pottage in Crawley before leaving at about 2pm.

Crowds gathered on bridges along the A23 to watch the bikers ride in convoy to the South Coast, accompanied by a police escort.

The first bikers arrived in Brighton at about 3pm and there was a heavy police presence in Madeira Drive to meet them.

The Argus:

Hells Angels from across the world came to Sussex to take part, with the name of their home club emblazoned on the back of their leather vests.

Locations on show included Heilbronn in Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and Belgium as well as the UK.

Many of the riders posed for pictures alongside spectators.

Photographers Sylvia, 65, and Steve White, 66, from the Southwick Camera Club came down to Brighton seafront to capture the scene.

The Argus:

Sylvia said: “There are less of them than I expected.

“They brought a lot of police in, but as long as they behave themselves then there’s no problem.”

Several people shared this opinion.

Chris Daniels, from Sackville Road in Hove, watched the bikers as they drove along the seafront.

The 59-year-old said: “It’s not what was expected.

“Before the event I heard there were going to be thousands, but that hasn’t been the case.

“These people are just wanting to have fun with their bikes.

“A lot of them have grown up now and have got their children on the back of their bikes. We have not had any problems with Hells Angels in this country for years now.”

In the lead-up to the event 34 arrests were made in Sussex and Surrey which were connected to the Hells Angels event.

The Argus:

These were all for the possession of drugs and offensive weapons.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE: 34 arrests made in connection with Hells Angels Euro Run

On Wednesday night Sussex and Surrey police introduced an order under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, allowing them to stop and search anybody within designated areas of the two counties. This order was later extended to apply until 4am yesterday.

The bikers left Brighton in convoy shortly before 5pm and were escorted by police as they left the city.