Rain fails to deter carnival goers

Thousands of soggy revellers have taken to the streets for the final day of Notting Hill Carnival undaunted by the wet weather.

Participants take part in a rainswept Notting Hill Carnival in west London
Participants take part in a rainswept Notting Hill Carnival in west London

The procession of sound systems and floats was delayed due to rain, but an organiser said it started at midday and there has been a continuous flow of bands since.

Flamboyant headdresses and skimpy costumes have been joined by umbrellas and plastic ponchos as 7,000 police officers are on patrol to keep order at the event in a washed out west London.

And the weather is not set to improve, as Calum MacColl, a forecaster at the Met Office, said: "It's very much going to stay wet with persistent rain."

There are thought to be fewer people today than there were yesterday which was billed as the "family day" of the annual festival where children basked in pleasant sunshine.

Sixty bands were expected at today's "adult day", as costume-clad performers stroll the area's streets and the aroma of Caribbean food fills the air.

Meanwhile, pop star Lily Allen said on Twitter that a generator had "blown".

She wrote: "I'm at #nottinghillcarnival @digitalsoundboy the generator has blown, need a generator quicktime, can anyone come and fix it ?" (sic)

Earlier today, the singer had shared an image of a Digital Soundboy soundsystem poster featuring a list of the acts set to play on Sir Lloyd's stage, and she was one of them.

In what is always a huge police operation, Chief Superintendent Robyn Williams said the force's priority is to "facilitate a safe and vibrant carnival".

By 9pm last night police had made 95 arrests, including five for possession of offensive weapons, 35 drugs arrests and 10 for common assault.

Ms Williams said: "Carnival very much presents us with two extremes; those who want to enjoy the sound systems, cuisine and have a good time and those who use it as an opportunity to commit crime."

A number of business owners and residents have boarded up their properties on the carnival route in a bid to avoid damage.

A gang crime crackdown in the run-up to the party resulted in 157 arrests and the seizure of guns, drugs and thousands of pounds in cash.

As part of Operation Kent officers retrieved two machine guns and a handgun, crack cocaine and around £78,000 in cash.

Officers known as ''super-recognisers'' are primed to spot those banned from the event, as well as gangs and groups who attend.

Carnival organisers said this year marks the first milestone in the build-up to the event's 50th anniversary in 2016.

Michelle Johns, 44, from Lincoln, who was watching the procession with her husband and two daughters yesterday said the atmosphere was great.

"It's brilliant fun. Everyone is friendly and having a great time," she said.

Theresa Smith, 69, who lives in South London but is originally from St Vincent in the Caribbean, helped to make costumes for children joining the South Connections band which took part in the procession.

She said: "I love the carnival, I've come every year since 1987.

"For two days of the year the streets of London are mine as a West Indie.

"The Caribbean community comes together and we celebrate. Celebrate the diversity, the culture, the mix of nationalities in London."

Scotland Yard said there had been a total of 115 arrests over the two days by 3pm today.

Eleven suspects have been held so far today, on top of 104 yesterday.

Offences include public order, possession of an offensive weapon, drugs, assault on police, criminal damage and robbery.