Preston Kids Cage Fight: No Police Action

22 September 2011, 11:11 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Lancashire Police say they won't take any further action against a Preston social club that organised "barbaric'' cage fighting involving children as young as eight.

Concerns were raised about whether two boys were put at risk by taking part in a bout at Greenlands Labour Club in Lancs in front of a 250-strong adult audience.

But a spokesman for Lancashire Police said the force had "looked into this matter fully and there are no issues for us to pursue''.

Earlier Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned the event as "barbaric'' and expressed shock at an apparent lack of restrictions on the activity. A video of the bout posted on the internet shows the youngsters fighting in a cage without protective padding or headgear and receiving medical attention.

"Getting more young people doing sport is great but I do ask myself whether it really does have to be in a cage,'' Mr Hunt told the BBC.

"It just feels to me, it feels very barbaric and I know there are concerns about children that young doing a sport like that. I think if adults choose to do it, that's one thing ... I suppose I do share some of the shock that I think many of your viewers will feel.''

His comments echo concerns raised by a children's charity which branded the fight ``disturbing'' and warned parents against allowing youngsters to take part in cage fighting while they are developing. Lancashire police looked into ``whether there were issues surrounding the safety of children'' in the fight on September 10.

Club owner Michelle Anderson defended her decision to stage the event, and Nick Hartley, the father of one of the boys, told the BBC his son was not at risk of harm.

Mr Hartley said: "He loves the sport. It's not one bit dangerous, it's a controlled sport. He likes to do it. He's never forced to do it, he wants to do it, so leave him to do it.''

Ms Anderson said: "The children were not doing cage fighting, they were just grappling. There was no punching, kicking or striking. The event was perfectly legal. There was only one fight for kids, which was a demonstration fight. The other fights were for adults.''