Bomb scare on seafront results in Pride Community Parade being re-routed along Western Road and through the city centre – residents and businesses in Hove treated to biggest free show in town.
A suspicious package was discovered at 11.20am by a Pride Steward. Described as the size of a large can of lager, it was strapped to a street sign with gaffer tape.
The bomb squad was called shortly after resulting in the parade being delayed by one and a half hours.
Gold Commander for the day, Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp who was due to march on the Parade with Chief Constable Giles York, was taken to John Street police station to oversee the operation.
The area close to the Bandstand on Brighton seafront was cordoned off, and a bomb disposable robot inspected the package before a controlled explosion was carried out.
Chief Superintendent Kemp confirmed the cancelling of the parade was discussed, but made it clear that it would only have been done as an absolute last resort.
He said: “We believe the item was placed there deliberately and made to look like a suspicious device, in order to cause disruption. We have started a criminal investigation to identify who did this.”
The parade entitled Carnival of Diversity was the biggest in years with 90 floats and walking tableaux including contributions from local voluntary sector organisations, businesses, essential service providors and corporate companies.
Brighton Pride Director Paul Kemp, thanked the police for letting the parade go ahead and said: “Despite the delay caused by bomb scare, the afternoon event on Preston Park ran to schedule drawing record crowds to Preston Park to watch Fat Boy Slim, Ella Henderson and The Human League, as did the Pride Village Party in St James Street at night, which was sold out. Mr Kemp estimated crowds watching the parade topped 200,000 and thanked everyone for working hard to make sure the event was the most successful ever staged in the city.”