Police crackdown on illegal gambling

LIKe fans across the country, Borders racing enthusiasts took an keen interest in last week’s Cheltenham Festival but so did Lothian and Borders Police, with a crack down on illegal gambling.

Police in the region were involved in a joint initiative with the Gambling Commission focusing on potential illegal betting taking place during the Festival, one of the highlights of the racing calendar.

No offences were detected in the operation, which followed a series of visits that took place the previous week where officers provided advice to licensees in the Borders regarding gambling and licensing legislation in advance of the Festival.

The initiative comes as 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.

“Operation Oberon is a Force-wide initiative in the Lothians and Borders that aims to make pubs and clubs ‘no go’ areas for criminals, many of whom are involved in serious organised criminal activity that has an adverse impact on local communities.”