Police focus on illegal betting during Cheltenham Festival

PUBS in the town were targeted by the police this week focusing on illegal betting during the Cheltenham Festival.

The joint initiative with the Gambling Commission saw a number of licensed premises visited although no offences were detected.

It followed a series of visits last week, where officers provided advice to licensees in Hawick regarding gambling and licensing legislation in advance of the Festival.

The initiative is part of Operation Oberon, a Lothian and Borders Police operation aimed at tackling criminality in pubs and clubs, and improving the safety and security of licensees and patrons.

Assistant chief constable Bill Skelly, who is leading the initiative, said: “The Cheltenham Festival is a popular fixture in the horse-racing calendar, and many people enjoy placing a bet as part of the event.

“Unfortunately there is a minority who choose to take advantage of this by running illegal gambling operations, which may take place within pubs and clubs.

“We will not tolerate illegal betting activity taking place in licensed premises, and we will deal robustly with anyone involved in this practise.”

Gambling Commission investigations manager Jim McCartan added: “Working in partnership with other law enforcement agencies is central to the Commission’s approach to keeping gambling fair and safe.”