bonfireSussex Police have reported a total of 14 arrests and 86 injuries following the annual Lewes bonfire celebrations, which took place last night in the town.

The event, which East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service say is their busiest of the year, typically sees around 30,000 people turn out to watch the town’s numerous bonfire societies compete to put on the most spectacular display.

The evening begins with a procession through the streets, culminating in the burning of effigies of Guy Fawkes and – controversially – head of the Catholic Church at the time of the gunpowder plot, Pope Paul V.

Four fire appliances were required to put out an out-of-control bonfire early in the evening but from a policing perspective event commander Superintendent Laurence Taylor described it as highly successful.

"The policing of this event involves months of preparation, planning and consultation with the bonfire societies, the other emergency services and partners. The main aim is to help provide a safe environment for the participants and spectators on the night," he said. 

"Around 18,000 people travelled into Lewes by train, and officers from both British Transport Police and Sussex Police were on hand to help manage the crowds and minimise the risk of injuries and damage to property.

"I would particularly like to thank the stewards who worked really hard along the processional route and made sure there were no crowd issues resulting in people being injured."

Of the arrests made on the night, two were for throwing fireworks, with the other 12 for drunk and disorderly and public order offences. None of the injuries were believed to be serious.