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Fight at Paddock Wood boot fair event at The Hop Farm

By Natalie Tipping

Bargain hunters flocked to The Hop Farm in Paddock Wood yesterday, but were distracted from the bric-a-brac when a bare knuckle fight erupted.

Boot fairs are held at the Maidstone Road venue most weekends between March and October, and are organised by a third party.

Visitors were shocked however when two men started having a "bare knuckle" fight in the middle of the event. It is not clear what this fight was over.

Library image.
Library image.

One eyewitness, who did not wish to be named, said: "It was absolutely horrendous, there were a couple of girls stood there goading them on, it was so dangerous.

"This is a family event and incidents like this have got to be stopped. These men were pushing into people, people were having to move out of their way, someone is going to get hurt if it continues to happen."

This isn't the first time a fight has broken out at this event, with videos appearing online last year of a similar incident.

The eyewitness added: "It's not acceptable for things like this to happen. If the organisers and security can't control the event they shouldn't run it."

A spokesman for the Hop Farm said that although these sales are run by a third party, the venue does check necessary health and safety and security arrangements are in place.

They added: "Neither the organiser nor ourselves had any prior knowledge of the incident occurring.

The fight erupted at a boot fair event. Stock picture.
The fight erupted at a boot fair event. Stock picture.

"As soon as they became aware, the organiser and their security personnel did their best to protect the public by keeping them away, and also tried to diffuse the situation directly with those involved, in a swift and diplomatic manner."

They confirmed that following similar incidents last year, the organiser had already stepped up security, and that further personnel would be employed following yesterday's fight.

They added: "We have to stress this is a relatively isolated incident, and the measures that have taken place are in a non-violent, preventative approach.

"The car boot fairs are popular family-friendly events, and as such the Hop Farm and fair organisers will be doing their utmost to prevent such incidents occurring.

"Neither party condones any form of violence taking place on The Hop Farm event land."

A Kent Police spokesman said: "Kent Police was called at 1.10pm on 20 August 2017 following a disturbance at a boot fair in Paddock Wood.

"It was reported that a number of people were involved in a fight at the event, which was being held at a site off Maidstone Road.

"There were no serious injuries reported and those involved left the scene before police arrived. Inquiries are ongoing."

Anyone with information should call Kent Police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 20-0686.

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