Friday, 3 July 2009


Security at this year's St Marie wasn't quite as prominent as usual. Perhaps it was the same, and because I didn't really spend much time in the town in the evenings this year I just didn't notice. During the day, you need a pass to gain entry to the fenced off show area. Different types are available - day passes, week-long trader passes, etc, but all require a little plastic card on a printed necklace thingy. Long queues usually build up on the show's official public days, and the pass holders can skip these. Individuals vary, but often a cursory glance is all that you might expect.

At night, however, the situation changes and the heavy security is drafted in. These guys clearly dream of being SAS or Imperial Stormtroopers. It looks very much like they got to design their own uniforms, too. Boots that go up to their armpits, huge telescopic truncheons, lots of guns, leather gauntlets, flak jackets, etc. A little bit of overkill, maybe. And then the dogs. Look like they've somehow got some tiger and bear genes into the rottweiler pool. If they wanted, they could probably bite people through the wire fencing.

In fairness, there is a huge amount of money in the show. In fossil and mineral form, perhaps, but vulnerable to theft all the same. Last year, a friend of mine had his bag stolen from its hiding place under a table. It had seventeen thousand Euros in cash, his passport, camera, credit cards, everything. All gone with little or no chance of seeing anything back from the insurance. This was in broad daylight, in a busy selling tent. It's not uncommon, sadly.

At night, the nature of the show means most of the stock is left in tents overnight. Tents that are secured only by a little bit of rope tied at the bottom. So it's quite reassuring to have the bear-dogs on the prowl.

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