Ring of steel surrounds Windsor as rooftop snipers protect royal wedding

Snipers are keeping watch on the rooftops in Windsor ahead of the royal wedding on Saturday.

Armed police are patrolling the streets of the royal borough town in what is expected to be the largest ever police operation in the history of Thames Valley Police.

Security is a tight-knit operation with the town, home to Windsor Castle, expected to see an influx of roughly 100,000 people lining the streets to watch the ceremony of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle .

The leafy Berkshire town is now home to the huge police operation, rumoured to cost between £24m and £30m, designed to ensure the ceremony is not targeted by terrorists or criminals.

The couple’s decision to invite more than 2,000 members of the public to attend celebrations at Windsor Castle has also increased security costs.

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Wedding planning service Bridebook told The Independent it could cost as much as £32m to ensure the event remains safe.

The security operation will be even more expensive than Prince William’s to Kate Middleton in 2011, which cost around £20m, according to Freedom of Information requests.

Thames Valley Police’s extensive protection plan includes a perimeter put in force around the castle grounds – a ‘ring of steel’ – and sniffer dogs regularly patrolling the streets.

So many policemen and women are required that officers are being drafted in from neighbouring forces.

Officers have started using an automatic license plate recognition system to flag any known suspicious vehicles and on Saturday there will be a no-fly zone to keep airspace clear on Saturday.

Roads have been blocked off to reduce chances of a traffic attack, a tactic which has seen increasing ‘popularity’ among terrorists in recent years – especially where there is a large build up of pedestrians.

Inspector Andy Amor, who has been co-ordinating the patrols, said: "Our officers have been out and about in the town, on patrol, talking to members of the public and engaging with them.

"These patrols are very much business as usual for us, however, they are all part of our security measures to ensure that everyone coming to Windsor for the royal wedding on Saturday has a safe and happy day.

"Thames Valley Police is experienced at policing large scale events such as these and we want all residents, businesses and visitors to the town to know that we are here, and to approach us if they have any questions at all.

"I’m really pleased and proud to be involved in policing this event.

"Windsor is a fantastic town in which to live and work, and our officers are very much looking forward to Saturday and focused on making sure that the event is secure and enjoyable for everyone involved."

Barriers and bins in the area have been replaced with plastic bins, which cannot be moved.

Speaking about security measures ahead of the day, Klaudia Pasik, who works at Clarence Brasserie & Tea room told the Express: “They replaced our bins with plastic ones. It’s for security measures. Anything you can lift you can use as a weapon.

Asked if she had concerns over security on the day, she replied: “No, this is Windsor. It has a lot of tourists, this is what we are used to."

Meghan Markle’s mum, Doria Ragland, met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte today as she continues her whirlwind tour of the royal family.

The 61-year-old is expected to meet the Queen on Friday, 24 hours before the big day when her daughter will wed Prince Harry at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.

Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle Snr, will not be able to attend, reportedly due to ill health.

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