Why ‘disgusted’ mum has vowed never to go to Hastings Bonfire again
A mother says her family’s visit to Hastings Bonfire was ruined by “blatant” drug use and teenagers acting like “feral animals”.
The 44-year-old went along to Saturday evening’s event with her parents and her two young children, aged two and six.
They joined thousands on the Hastings seafront watching the firework display, drumming processions and bonfire on the beach.
However, she said their experience was soured by out-of-control youths and the strong smell of cannabis in the air.
“I think they were just there for the crowd, they weren’t paying any attention to the fireworks at all or the procession,” she added. “The only way I can describe it was they were just like feral animals these kids - they were horrendous.”
Just before the fireworks began, her youngsters were playing in a children’s play area near Hastings Adventure Golf on the seafront when a group of teenagers arrived.
Louise, who did not want to give her full name for fear of reprisals, added: “My two-year-old was knocked approximately 10 feet across the ground by one of the many older teenagers running amok in the play park.
“Thankfully he wasn’t injured, but was very shaken. They were charging around aggressively with no regard for the smaller children for whom the park is intended.”
She said the teenagers were around 16 years old and some were smoking joints near the young children.
Louise, from Ashford, Kent, said she reported it to two police officers stood nearby. They told her they had some more officers coming down, and they were going to do a “walk through” the area, she added.
“If they had opened their minds they would have seen it, it was so blatant,” Louise said. “But I suppose there was not much they could do because they were dealing with such numbers.”
She added: “It seemed like cannabis was now legal in Hastings because it was so open. They weren’t trying to hide it. It was so blatant. We’ve been every year for the last five years, except when it was cancelled because of Covid.
“Last time I went we walked past a few people, and it was obvious people were smoking cannabis, and it was quite brazen to be openly smoking it as people were. But this year was particularly bad - it was in the air constantly.
“There were kids inhaling from balloons, they were smoking joints, and at one point I was stood near the park watching them and I almost felt almost quite overwhelmed by it. I thought I would fail a drugs test because I breathed that much in. It was unbearable - it really was. It really ruined what could be a fantastic event.”
Afterwards, she contacted Sussex Police on Twitter to complain about her experience.
They asked her to give them a call or email so they could take further information.
See also: Pictures from Hastings Bonfire 2021