Liverpool – Security at Aintree has been stepped up before the three-day Randox Health Grand National meeting after vandals gained access to the course, causing superficial damage to the track on Saturday morning.
A car was reported to have driven through the security gates at 6.45am on Saturday, before leaving tyre marks in the turf and damaging the railings near the Melling Road part of the track.
The worst of the damage to the turf is after the 12th fence on the National course.
Measures have been taken to ensure there is no repeat before Saturday’s £1 million race and a spokesman for the track said: “We’re very disappointed this occurred in the build-up.
“This is now a police matter so there’s not much we can say on the specifics of what occurred, but some superficial damage was done to a small area of the course. Security has been stepped up prior to the festival. Our ground staff team will rectify this and it will have no impact on the meeting.”
No arrests have been made in relation to the incident, with Merseyside Police still appealing for information.
Following a period of public consultation earlier in the year, a Public Space Protection Order has been introduced to help curb ticket touting around the perimeter of the course.
A spokesman for the course added: “We’re working closely with Sefton Council and the police, who have introduced a Public Space Protection Order for ticket touting which makes it an offence to sell, offer for sale or advertise tickets for the Randox Health Grand National outside the racecourse.
“At Aintree we pride ourselves on providing first-class customer service and that starts at the perimeter of our racecourse. We’re grateful for the support of Sefton Council on trying to eradicate these unpleasant, and often criminal, activities of touts and look forward to continuing to work closely with the council.”
The track is also working with specialists to ensure drones do not cause any disruption.
The use of drones at racecourses has been thrown into focus in recent months amid reports they are being increasingly used to film races, with the pictures relayed to in-running punters who can use them to gain a significant advantage over those using delayed pictures in their own homes.
They also pose a significant risk to safety and brought Gatwick and Heathrow airports to a standstill before and after Christmas.
“As well as the police, we’re working with a special drone surveillance team who will operate across the meeting with the aim to ensure there’s no disruption,” said a spokesman for Aintree. – Racingpost.com
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