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Anger as charity event at farm gets out of control
HUNDREDS of youths brought chaos to a Hampshire village when they descended on a farm for an illegal rave, the Daily Echo can reveal.
Dozens of police officers were deployed as the 999 control room was flooded with calls from angry residents complaining about the noise.
Ambulances and a rapid response crew were also called to the scene where paramedics had to deal with numerous young people who were so drunk they needed immediate medical treatment.
One young woman and a 17- year-old boy, who was unconscious from the effects of alcohol, had to be taken to Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital.
Residents reported that broken bottles were strewn all the way down a quiet country lane leading to the marquee next to the barn where the party took place.
They were even left in the trough of water used by horses.
Last night the landowner insisted the event had started out as a charity barn dance but got out of hand when hundreds of youths invaded after details of it were spread around the Internet.
It is believed a group of youths were the organisers of the music event, which was held at Tote Hill, near the tranquil village of Sherfield English, near Romsey.
Landowner Clive Jones said: “It was a nightmare. They asked me if they could use it as a fundraising event to raise money for a children’s play park, I think in West Dean.
“All the neighbours were warned beforehand. It got out on the Internet that it was a rave and it got out of hand.
“There was no damage though, apart from broken glass.”
A spokesman for West Dean Playground Committee, based in the nearby village of West Dean on the Hampshire/ Wiltshire border, last night denied any knowledge of the party.
Police confirmed that word of the event appeared to have gone viral on Internet social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter with hundreds of college students from different parts of the county making their way to the picturesque village during the course of the evening.
A Hampshire police spokesman told how calls started to come in to police just after 10.45pm on Saturday and they arrived within half an hour where they found people still making their way to the site in droves and began turning them away.
A blockade was also put in place in Gambledown Lane at its junction with The Banks and Doctors Hill to stop people accessing the area.
Police called for back-up with more officers and a specialist dog unit deployed to the area.
As the situation continued to develop they ordered the music be turned off and started to disperse the crowds.
Parents of youngsters who had gone to the rave then began to arrive in the area to collect them – with one angry dad allegedly refusing to obey a police cordon. He was then arrested and charged with obstructing a police officer in the course of their duty.
Police finally shut down the event at 4am on Sunday.
Chief Inspector Andy Houghton, police commander for the area, warned the force would take a “robust stance” on any unlicensed music event.
He added: “These type of illegal gatherings cause disruption and distress to local communities and anyone organising or attending such an event runs the risk of gaining a criminal record.
“Those who organise them can be prosecuted and end up with a fine of up to £20,000 and even six months in jail.”
A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service warned: “If vital resources are diverted to cope with people who choose to drink irresponsibly they are not available to respond to others suffering genuinely life threatening medical injury or illness.
“We would urge people to consider their actions – it costs £247 every time we send a resource out and we would urge people to access the service appropriately and be mindful it is their money we are spending.”
Police are investigating.
Anyone who attended or has information should contact Romsey police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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