Royal rumpus in Stowmarket

WITH just 24 hours to go before the county's biggest visit for 25 years, twitchiness over security has led to a right royal rumpus in one Suffolk town.

By Paul Geater

WITH just 24 hours to go before the county's biggest visit for 25 years, twitchiness over security has led to a right royal rumpus in one Suffolk town.

Council officials are claiming that martial law is being introduced in Stowmarket during The Queen's 15-minute visit.

But the police were today insisting that they will still be in charge – army personnel from Wattisham Airfield will be there only to offer support and undertake ceremonial duties.

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They were blaming officials at the local district council, accusing them of panicking over the Royal visit.

The confusion arose after official guests were given security instructions by the police.

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The following day officials from Mid Suffolk contacted them to say the army had taken over security in Stowmarket and were issuing special passes for the event.

"The police have handed overall security in Stowmarket to the army – they will be in charge here during the Queen's visit," said a spokeswoman for Mid Suffolk Council.

That was firmly denied by the police – and the army said their role was only to provide support for the police.

Soldiers from Wattisham will be acting as stewards at the visit and have been told not to allow anyone without a pass through the barriers.

Police have told said that passes are not necessary for everyone – but the passes are still being issued.

"Basically some official at Mid Suffolk seems to have gone off on one and wants to stick a badge on anything that moves!" a police source told the Star.

The Queen and Prince Philip will spend 15 minutes in Stowmarket tomorrow lunchtime as they travel from Ipswich to Bury St Edmunds.

They are due to visit the market square and see demonstrations showing Suffolk's agricultural heritage.

They are due to arrive by car at 12.10pm and to leave at 12.25 – before arriving for lunch in Bury St Edmunds at 12.45pm.

Meanwhile work has been undertaken to improve the environment around Felaw Maltings, which the Queen and Duke will visit during their tour of Ipswich Waterfront.

Land cleared for redevelopment next to the business centre has been turfed over to improve its appearance.

Are you planning to see the Royal couple during their tour of Suffolk, and will you be taking any photographs of their visit?

We are running a royal photograph competition – the best three pictures sent in by our readers will be published in the Star and will be mounted and framed for you to hang up at home.

Send in your photos to: Star royal photo competition, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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