A huge ride-out which was meant to involve hundreds of Hells Angels members in the U.K. actually saw significantly fewer riders taking part as many of them were too drunk or hungover for the journey.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club Euro Run 2019 was meant to see around 700 bikers take part in the 20-plus mile journey from the village of Pease Pottage to the coastal city of Brighton, South England, on June 1 to mark the club’s 50th anniversary in the U.K.
However, the actual number of riders who took part dwindled down to around 100 after police arrested 49 people on suspicion of drug and weapons offenses. Many more were deemed unfit to ride after failing breathalyzer tests.
“We made great efforts to work with the event organizer beforehand to ensure those attending got the message about what was expected here, sadly some didn’t heed the warning,” Sussex Police Assistant Chief Constable Nev Kemp said in a statement.
“However 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.
“This was a unique event that has never happened on anything like this scale in the U.K. before and required careful planning to ensure the public and those attending were safe.”
The drug and weapons arrests were made after police implemented a special law allowing officers to search Hells Angels members within the designated area where the ride-out would be taking place.
Police said a further 27 Hells Angels members were stopped from entering the U.K. because they were deemed a risk to the public due to their previous convictions for violent offenses, including murder, kidnap, torture and assault.
“Hells Angels events have not routinely passed without very serious incidents when they have taken place in other countries and a measure of success for us is ensuring that it passed without serious incident here in the U.K. Europol have been very complimentary about the U.K. policing operation,” Kemp added.
“The fact that all of these different events across involving thousands of people have passed without serious incident is something that we can be very pleased with.
“They required significant resourcing, planning and professionalism from police officers and staff because of the varied risks involved and I would like to thank everyone for the work they have put in this week.”