Manhunt launched after local man beaten and hospitalised at Appleby Horse Fair

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The 61-year-old victim was taken to hospital with “severe bruising” and a cut around his eye. He has since been discharged, and police are appealing for any witnesses to come forward.

Thousands have gathered in Appleby, Cumbria, for the annual horse fair.

It is one of the largest gatherings of the gypsy and travelling community in Europe.

A spokesman for Cumbria police said: “Police are appealing for information as they investigate an assault which occurred in Appleby last night.

“The incident took place at around 10.20pm.

“A man aged 61 and from Appleby was punched a number of times by two men in the Clifford Street area.

“The men then left the area in the direction of The Midland pub.”

He added: “The victim suffered severe bruising to his face and a cut over his eye.

“He was taken to hospital as a precaution but has subsequently been discharged.

“Police are appealing for any witnesses or anyone with information to make contact.”

Appleby Horse Fair was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last year’s cancellation marks only the second time the event has been cancelled in its 250 year history.

Authorities decided to let the 2021 event go ahead, despite fears over coronavirus.

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According to the BBC, some local businesses decided to close due to COVID-19 fears.

Speaking to the corporation Les Clark, deputy chief executive of Eden District Council, defended the decision to permit the event.

He said: “We could either wrap around that support, like we normally do, or we let things happen unplanned and ad hoc, which would be very difficult to control.”

Pop-up Covid vaccine clinics have been set up by the organisers.

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Appleby Horse Fair sometimes sparks tensions between local residents and travellers.

According to Lancs Live, one group of travellers who arrived in Kirkby Stephen found their usual camp site was “sprayed with cow manure”.

Instead they camped on Upper Eden Rugby Club, sparking a confrontation with management.

Lancs Live there was a “stand-off”, during which some travellers blocked the road.

A number of locals reported being threatened during the confrontation.

They told Lancs Live police said they couldn’t close the gate, to prevent more travellers entering, in case those already camping needed to leave in an emergency.
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