Cops break up Summer Solstice gathering as hundreds swarm Stonehenge despite Covid cancelling annual event
POLICE today broke up a Summer Solstice gathering after hundreds of people swarmed Stonehenge despite Covid cancelling the event.
Around 30,000 revellers usually travel to the landmark in Wiltshire at sunrise to mark the longest day of the year.
But the annual event was cancelled for a second year running after the final stage of lockdown easing was delayed.
Police were forced to close access to the site and move crowds away after they flouted warnings to stay away.
English Heritage also pulled a live feed of the sunrise after people travelled to the ancient stone circle.
Host Ed Shires said: “I must say we have been disappointed that a number of people have chosen to disregard our request to not travel to the stones this morning and that is the reason why we haven’t been able to bring you the pictures that we would have liked to have done.
“It is disappointing to see that happen but unfortunately in those kind of situations we have to put the safety of our staff members first and that’s why we have had some interruption this morning.
“We have been told by police that people have now been dispersed and the situation is under control.”
Wiltshire Police confirmed they closed off access to part of the site after a large number of cars showed up in the early hours.
The force said: "We have taken the difficult decision to prevent further access to part of the Ridgeway, near Avebury, to maintain public safety and prevent potential damage to nearby farmland.
"This is in response to large numbers of people and vehicles in the area."
Thousands of pagans and druids usually gather at Stonehenge to mark the longest day of the year.
Crowds of devotees, often dressed for the occasion, regularly gather to watch the moment the sun rises above the Heel Stone.
This year the summer will last 93 days, 15 hours and 49 minutes.
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