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Police thank public after Tall Ships in Sunderland hailed a success

16 Jul 2018 11:00 AM

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Northumbria Police have thanked the public for an unforgettable week as the Tall Ships set sail from Sunderland to Denmark.

A spectacular 50-strong fleet including some of the world’s most magnificent vessels anchored on Wearside last week as part of a five-day festival to celebrate the city’s maritime heritage.

Thousands of visitors descended on Sunderland to join in the festivities which marked the first leg of the Races to Esbjerg, Denmark.

Among the highlights of the week were a jaw-dropping crew parade through the city centre, a high-wire spectacular from Cirque Bijou and the Parade of Sail which attracted crowds of people as the ships moved out into the North Sea.

Police officers were on duty at the event every day to keep the public safe, and Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt, Northumbria Police’s silver commander for The Tall Ships Races 2018, was quick to praise residents and visitors alike.

“The last few days have been an absolute pleasure to be part of and it was great that this event showcased the very best of Sunderland and South Tyneside,” Ch Supt Pitt said.

“A lot of hard work was put in by event organisers, ourselves and our partners to ensure The Tall Ships were a success and I was delighted to see all that planning and effort richly rewarded.

“We experienced very little trouble across the weekend, and I would like to thank everybody who turned out to celebrate this city’s maritime history. It was an event that will live long in the memory.

“As ever with large-scale events like this, there was the potential for disruptions on our roads and challenges in terms of policing a five-day festival. However, I am thrilled that the event passed without major incident, and with everyone in good spirits.

“I’d like to thank members of the public for being so patient when coming to and leaving the event site, as well as the organisers and our motor patrol officers who minimised any heavy delays on the roads.

“A number of officers have already commented how fantastic it was to be part of such an event, speaking with the local community and sharing in the colour and excitement that the Tall Ships brought to the region.

“With the Sunderland Airshow just around the corner, this is just the start of what should be a hugely exciting summer.”

The sun shone throughout the event as officers mingled with the public, chatted to the community and took selfies with enthusiastic visitors.

The Force’s Marine Unit were on hand to keep the port secure, armed officers were deployed on the ground to offer reassurance and motor patrol officers managed the traffic to get people on and off the site as safely and efficiently as possible.

They were all ably assisted by the ever-popular Dog Section and Mounted Section, who attracted the crowds as they patrolled across each of the four event zones.

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council who organised the event, said it has been “absolutely amazing” for the city.

“The sight of more than 50 of the world’s most magnificent tall ships berthed in the port and along the riverbank has been truly spectacular,” Cllr Miller said.

“While the breathtaking high-wire walk across the River Wear on Friday night and Saturday’s stunning Parade of Sail provided the perfect ending to the five-day festival.

“We’ve had an enormous amount of positive feedback both from people attending the event and from those taking part in the races.

 “None of this would have been possible without the help and support of sponsors, residents, events makers and partner organisations and indeed our own staff who have worked so hard to deliver this fantastic event and show the city at its best.”

Race chairman Knut Western, of Sail Training International, also praised the city.

“Sunderland has been a marvellous host port,” he said. “We are particularly impressed by all the volunteers and their hard work.

“The event has been a perfect venue to inspire international friendship and understanding among the crews, which is the main focus for Sail Training International.

“The crews leave Sunderland with lots of good memories that will last a lifetime, well prepared for the race towards Esbjerg.”