MANY spectators were bitterly disappointed by the poor turnout for a Hells Angels event which ended in Brighton.

But police have now revealed that many of the club’s members were not fit to ride because they had too much to drink the night before.

The Angels were also deterred by a heavy police presence surrounding the event so many bikers did not end up making it to the south coast.

The Argus:

Assistant chief constable Nev Kemp said: “Our approach, as well as some self-breath testing by riders ahead of the main ride on Saturday, significantly reduced numbers riding to Brighton.

“We had initially expected 700, but just over 100 took part.”

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

They planned to travel en masse from Pease Pottage to Madeira Drive in Brighton on Saturday.

The Argus:

Police forces from across the country were drafted in and officers’ leave and days off to ensure the event passed without incident.

A total of 49 arrests were made in connection with the event, mostly for carrying drugs and weapons, including a bladed whip.

The Argus:

But, in a statement police said the day “passed without serious incident”.

Mr Kemp said: “This has been a hugely busy week for both forces and I’m incredibly proud of the efforts I’ve seen from all involved.

The Argus:

“Many months of planning and hard work have gone into making all of these events run as smoothly as possible.

“Public safety has been our main priority and we have had to put in place highly visible tactics this week which has significantly reduced the risk to the wider public and those wanting to enjoy themselves at all these events.”

The Argus:

In the days leading up to the Euro Run an estimated 3,000 Hells Angels Motorcycle Club members arrived in Sussex and Surrey. After “receiving information” that some members were carrying weapons, police forces issued 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.

It was through this that many of the arrests were made.

Mr Kemp added “We made great efforts to work with the event organiser beforehand to ensure those attending got the message about what was expected here, sadly some didn’t heed the warning. We benefited from the knowledge shared by our international colleagues about the attendees from their countries, and the risks that they posed.

The Argus:

“We were also able to prevent 27 people from even entering the UK. All of those refused entry were international members of the Hell Angels and deemed to pose a risk to the public with previous convictions for serious violent crimes including; murder, kidnap, torture, drug supply, violent assaults and firearms offences.”