A town’s population is set to double for its annual bonfire ceremony despite warnings that people should stay away.

Lewes will see around 30,000 people crowd into its streets tonight for the parade and then each society’s bonfire.

Trains will not stop at Lewes after 3pm in a bid to limit people coming into the town.

Sussex Police said it is “not a town designed for thousands of people on the streets” and are urging people to stick to their local bonfire nights.

The Argus: One of the effigies from the 2021 eventOne of the effigies from the 2021 event

Assistant Chief Constable Howard Hodges, 50, said: “Those that are here we expect and ask to be local. For those outside of Lewes we ask to go and enjoy their local events.

“For people coming from outside of Lewes, I would implore them to understand that Lewes is not a town for thousands of people to be on the streets.

“Historically Saturdays have seen higher than weekday attendance. A significant concern for me is always around crowd density, crowd movement and the potential for crushing.

“I would ask people to consider not travelling, hence the measures we have put in with road closures, parking restrictions and rail restrictions so the town is more difficult to come to. That is deliberate, we’re not being killjoys this is about public safety.”

The Argus: Assistant Chief Constable Howard Hodges is gold commander for the police operationAssistant Chief Constable Howard Hodges is gold commander for the police operation (Image: The Argus)

“We have a number of contingency plans in place, particularly in terms of the weather. If something significant were to happen on the night, we have tried and tested processes in place.

“There’s a huge amount of planning in this, we have been planning for the last 364 days. We work with the societies to make sure it’s safe.

Allowing trains to run at Lewes Station in the event of an emergency would be one option the police would “consider”.

The Argus: Station manager David WashingtonStation manager David Washington (Image: ESFRS)

Sussex will see heavy downpours for most of Saturday. The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for rain between 5am and midnight.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said it will be business as usual in terms of its response across the rest of Sussex for any other potential emergencies.

Lewes station manager David Washington, 46, said: “We do significant pre-planning to ensure that this event doesn’t affect the wider ability to respond to other emergencies.”