AROUND 80 “selfish and intimidating” party-goers with fireworks took over a Southampton park.

Police were called to Riverside Park on June 1 after a group of “80 people” arrived for a party with fireworks, bonfires and disposable BBQs.

Witnesses said they heard people singing Happy Birthday while launching fireworks and were described as “really drunk”.

Residents have claimed the party started just before 8pm and finished at around midnight, however Hampshire Police claim they dispersed the party-goers at around 7.40pm on Monday.

Daily Echo:

One witness, who was on his evening walk at the park, said he arrived at around 7.50pm and saw “50 to 100” people gathered on the park - but no police.

He added: “As soon as you go into the park you could just see the sheer amount of people who had gathered.

“There was no way of getting past them, it was just too intimidating.

“They had completely taken over the park and I called 101.

“It was like watching a festival, you could tell they were settling in for a while.”

Another witness said: “The party was at 8pm to about 12.20am of about 80 people.

“They were singing happy birthday, launching many fireworks and all really drunk.

“The residents of River Walk were angry and upset, but could do nothing to stop it.”

Daily Echo:

A spokesperson from Hampshire Police said: “We were called at 7.38pm yesterday, June 1, to a report of a large gathering in Riverside Park.

“Officers attended and gave advice to the group who dispersed.”

The incident has been met with anger from both councillors and MPs who said that the behaviour is “unacceptable”.

Councillor for Bitterne Park, Ivan White, said: “The behaviour is unacceptable and threatens all the effort and self isolating we’ve all carried out during lockdown and it risks lives particularly that of the older generation.”

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, added: “The police have sadly had to break up too may of these type of parties and it shows shocking level of selfishness.

“This is not confusion or a misunderstanding it’s a demonstration of how little they consider the safety of their community.”