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Three arrests were made at Lancaster Loves after a number of party goers were found to be in possession of class A drugs.
The incident occurred on Thursday 28 October, just nine months after a similar incident occurred at the Sugarhouse during Lancaster Loves, where seven students were arrested for being in possession of the then legal drug mephedrone. As the second incident of this kind, the arrests have resulted in the decision by LUSU to cancel all up and coming Lancaster Love events after police consultation.
A man from Morecambe, 26 year old Jason Matthews, was arrested and has since been charged with the possession of cocaine. An 18 year old man was arrested and released on bail on suspicion of possessing ecstasy with the intent to supply and a 22 year old man has received a caution for the possession of ecstasy. For legal reasons, the names of the latter two individuals have not been released to the public.
In a press release LUSU President, Robbie Pickles said, “LUSU and the police have worked in an extremely positive partnership and we perceive that there will be few future problems. Sugarhouse is still the safest club in town for students and we are always working to improve on that record.”
During the event the Police were contacted by bouncers as soon as drugs were found on the premises. Their immediate decision was to close the Sugarhouse which was promptly enforced by staff. The Police are currently working with LUSU to prevent another drugs related incident.
“We are working with the Sugarhouse and the Students Union to get out drug prevention messages and to carry out random drug operations at the venue but I would be keen to stress that the problems here are no worse than in other areas of town. We constantly work with all licensed premises in the area to deter use and to tackle it when it does occur”, said Sergeant James Martin, of the Neighbourhood Police for Lancaster.
One first year Bowland student said she was not only aware that drugs were been taken during this event but was actually offered them. However, she said that “it wasn’t obvious that drugs were being taken. I was probably more aware since someone asked me if I wanted any.”
Lancaster Loves is one of the few nights that local people are permitted into the Sugarhouse. Questions have been raised as to whether the decision to admit locals has been the cause for the recent trouble.
LUSU and the event organisers have been unable to fully comment on the events that took place due to legal jurisdiction since court cases are ongoing. Information about full refunds for Pete Tong was made available on 10 November via the Facebook page.
Nonetheless, Lancaster Loves is seen to bring something different to the usual student night life. Big names such as drum ‘n’ bass DJ High Contrast, who was headlining on the night in question, and Pete Tong one of the world’s foremost dance DJ’s, who was meant to be playing on 18 November, are seen by students to give a variation in comparison with standard nights out. Pendulum, Kissy Sell Out and Chase and Status have also been amongst
the acts to headline at the Sugarhouse.
The Lancaster Loves’ Facebook pages sells the event as having, “an emphasis on providing our party-goers with value for money, a night of mayhem, and of course quality music, we are confident that ‘Lancaster Loves’ will reign supreme for electronic dance events in Lancaster. We will bring the best in dubstep, drum and bass, house, techno and all other things dance music, to the small city of Lancaster. With this, there will be established artists headlining the night, supported by upcoming local DJs.”
Regardless of the issues that occurred on the 28 October, clubbers said that they had a “really good night and would go again”. One commented that “High Contrast was awesome” however, another was unhappy with the security at the event claiming that “the bouncers were power hungry, jumped-up fools.”