London: Security has been stepped up at the final Ashes Test, being played at The Oval, after organisers received a tip off that Fathers4Justice campaigners planned a high profile protest to disrupt play.
Activists had bought tickets for Saturday’s play and planned to spray “purple acid” onto the pitch during lunch according to detailed intelligence passed to the organisers. Surrey Cricket Club said it had stepped up security at the ground and would be enforcing stricter searches at the gates.
Richard Gould, the chief executive of Surrey, said: “We want to make sure we protect the pitch and the game. The security was stepped up so the Test can go on without any problems.”
The tip off is understood to have come from a Fathers4Justice sympathiser who did not want to see the cricket disrupted.
The source said the activists would smuggle the paint mixture into the ground hidden in a child’s drinks bottle. He suggested the “copycat suffragette style protest” would include a diversion to distract stewards.
The threat comes two months after one of Britain’s most famous paintings, The Hay Wain, by John Constable, was attacked by a Fathers4Justice protester in the National Gallery.
The protestor was arrested after sticking a photograph of a young boy to the 1821 painting and there was no lasting damage.
Cricket spectators said the raised security was immediately noticeable after the tip was received on Wednesday. In the wake of the threat, organisers said they would double overnight security of the wicket and place additional police and stewards on the boundaries.