Millwall Park beer festival at risk of losing licence

Tower Hamlets Council refused a police application to strip the Oktoberfest in Millwall Park of its

Tower Hamlets Council refused a police application to strip the Oktoberfest in Millwall Park of its licence. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

One of London’s biggest beer festivals could be banned this week after a bouncer allegedly fractured a customer’s jaw.

Staff at Oktoberfest in Millwall Park have also been accused of abandoning a vulnerable “lone drunk female in lederhosen hugging a lamppost” and allowing intoxicated customers to publicly urinate in the area.

Its licence is being reviewed by Tower Hamlets council tonight (Tuesday, September 1) after complaints from Transport for London and the Met about alleged violent incidents.

The German-themed event, which started in 2012, sees about 15,000 customers each year over its two weekend run in October.

Pc Mark Perry, in his report to the council’s licensing committee, said: “This is an event that cannot control its customers who are allowed to get drunk, resulting in fights not only at the venue but also at local train stations.

“Despite having over 50 security staff on duty they could not cope with the number of incidents … It shows a lack of care for its customers when a female, who is so drunk she has to hold on to a lamppost for support, is allowed to leave the venue without assistance from any staff there. It is very fortunate that being in such a vulnerable state she was not the victim of a serious crime.

“In a debrief meeting Transport for London reported that DLR staff had problems with intoxicated customers, who they would not allow in the station, who would then become abusive to staff.”

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According to police incident logs the event saw:

28 – Incidents of Beer Thrown –

21 – Incidents of Fighting / Aggressive Behaviour

19 – Incidents of Tables Benches Collapsing or People on Tables

65 – Intoxicated people

6 – Calls to Emergency Services

7- Incidents of Urination

12 – Injuries

Residents on the Isle of Dogs also complained about public urination and load drunken behaviour from customers.

A woman claimed that when the fight calmed down she saw a member of the security team hit a customer in the face, according to documents submitted to Tower Hamlets council.

“The victim suffered grievous bodily harm injuries as a result of this punch,” according to police. “His injuries are a fracture of the jaw/cheekbone. The victim has been left with a large scar and stables across the top of his head.”

The Millwall Park Oktoberfest is run by World Wide Festival UK, which puts on a similar event in Kensington Olympia attended by over 50,000 visitors each year.

Last year the company was refused a licence by Haringey council after a 2018 Oktoberfest in Finsbury Park resulted in a mass brawl.

Supervisor Carsten Raun blamed gangs for starting trouble at the event.

He said: “London Oktoberfest has been a well-established event in Millwall Park since 2012. As we welcomed a large number of visitors this also boosted business for many surrounding local business profiting from the attraction in Millwall Park. Moreover, we helped to establish a great reputation for the area around Millwall Park.. In 2019 a Millwall gang of about 30 people visited the event with the main purpose just to start a fight and make trouble. Our security got the gang out of the tent but outside the gang wanted to fight the security. The happening around that gang accident are the main arguments by the police.”