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Police warn against British GP protest threat

Protesters have threatened to invade the Silverstone circuit during Sunday’s race

Police in the United Kingdom have issued a warning to protesters they believe plan to interrupt Sunday’s Formula 1 British Grand Prix.

Northamptonshire Police and Silverstone released a statement advising they’d received intelligence suggesting individuals may attempt to access the track.

“We have received credible intelligence that a group of protestors are planning to disrupt the event and possibly invade the track on race day,” said event commander – chief inspector Tom Thompson.

“First of all, I want to appeal directly to this group of people and strongly urge you to not put yourselves, the drivers, as well as the many marshals, volunteers and members of the public, at risk.

“Going onto a live racetrack is extremely dangerous – if you go ahead with this reckless plan you are jeopardising lives.

“Protesting is of course everyone’s human right in this country and we are more than happy to speak with you to help you facilitate a peaceful protest at the circuit, we just please ask that you do not create a situation that puts lives in danger.

“We are very experienced in the policing of this event having done so over a number of years but let me make this clear – this doesn’t make us complacent,” he added.

“The security measures we have put in place are as stringent as ever and anyone thinking of taking advantage of the race weekend to commit a crime will be caught.

“Finally, I would just appeal to members of the public to be extra vigilant and to make us aware of anything you see during the race weekend that doesn’t look right.

“We would rather get a well-meaning report that turns out to be nothing, than not receive one at all.”

Formula 1 has found itself used as a platform for protests more than once previously, including the British Grand Prix.

In 2003, Neil Horan invaded the Silverstone circuit during the race, running down Hangar straight towards oncoming cars.

The Irishman arrested and charged with aggravated trespass and served two months in prison.

A decade later, nearly 40 Greenpeace activists accessed the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on race day for the Belgian Grand Prix.

They managed to fit banners to the main grandstand, and triggered a remote-controlled banner during the podium presentation.

The British Grand Prix gets underway at midnight AEST on Sunday night/Monday morning.

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