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Sowton party man's anger at police

By This is Exeter  |  Posted: July 16, 2009

  • Andrew Poole who has criticised the police reponse after they closed down his 30th birthday party believing it could turn into a rave EE150709_GW01_05

  • The story in Monday's Echo

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A MUM and her son have criticised the police after a birthday party which was halted for fears it could turn into a rave.

Mary Poole said the event was for her son’s 30th birthday party and criticised the use of the police helicopter saying the issue had been “blown out of proportion”.

Police closed down the event on Saturday down after fears from local residents it could turn into a rave  based on information about previous events at the same site.

According to police, the organiser of the event, Andrew Poole, volunteered to put a stop to the party, which police had authorisation to close under Public Order legislation.

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Mrs Poole said: “Four cars drove down a private lane to a private field.

“The police helicopter was over them and all it watched them do was put up a gazebo and light a barbecue.”

She added: “It was a small event with no more than 10 people there when it was raided. My son had put information up on Facebook and had 17 people confirmed they were coming.

“If that means it is a rave, I would like to know where they get their numbers from?”

And Mr Poole,  also  said he saw the police helicopter above the field.

He said: “When we drove in we were given looks by people living in the village. It just seems outrageous the police can shut down a party with one or two words from villagers.

“I don’t know about any other parties that have happened there.

“When the police came, the music wasn’t even plugged in.

“All they did was stop 15 people from having a barbecue.”

Mr Poole also said there was no order on the land saying it could only be used for agricultural purposes.

A police spokesman said: “The decision to close down a rave or illegal music festival is not taken lightly and the force recognises that there are many legitimate and well-organised events held regularly.

“When these gatherings are held outside the law they may become dangerous to those attending as fire regulations may be breached and access to such a site for emergency vehicles is limited.

“Loud music playing into the small hours is annoying to people living nearby who will turn to the police to stop this type of disturbance.

“On this occasion, we were extremely concerned how the event had been advertised on the Internet as an all-night party and it was therefore necessary to take the appropriate steps to stop the event.

“Had it gone ahead, it is likely that far more of our resources would have been used to police the event and there would have been considerable disruption to neighbouring properties.

“It was fortunate that the force helicopter was able to over fly the site as they were returning from another task, to give an overview of what was happening.

“We would actively encourage members of the public to report any illegal gatherings as soon as possible in order the police may prevent them from taking place.”

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    John Maclean, Exeter  |  July 20 2009, 11:45AM

    Interesting that on the BBC website today there is a report of a party which was advertised on Facebook that turned into a riot. It is not the invited guests that generally cause the problems at this type of event. It is the uninvited guests that are trouble. To advertise a party on Facebook is stupid and can only attract trouble in the end.

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    J, Oxford  |  July 19 2009, 11:05AM

    Andy, take them to court for an apology and compensation. From the articles I've read they had no grounds for acting the way they did. Even under our draconian laws, 10 people at a gathering is not a rave unless there are grounds to believe that 100 or more will eventually turn up. One domestic gazebo and a generator doesn't quite cut it. The plod must have outnumbered party-goers by the end of it. Completely ridiculous. Please, do us all a favour and take them to court. They need reminding of what the law actually is, and that it is not for them to make up as they go along.

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    James, Suffolk  |  July 19 2009, 9:40AM

    The police and the government are going the right way to completely alienate themselves from the people of this country. Fear and Loathing this way comes.

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    Guest, Exeter  |  July 18 2009, 7:13PM

    Come on It was for 1 night. Show a bit of love for your fellow man ?

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    Craig, Bolton  |  July 18 2009, 6:43PM

    Yer man from Glasgow.... "¿Had it gone ahead, it is likely that far more of our resources would have been used to police the event '... TOUGH! That's the job of the police. To deal with things WHEN they happen, NOT to put a stop because something might happen" Sorry mate, but it's EXACTLY the job of the police to stop things before they happen. If they didn't do that, there would've been a hell of a lot more terrorist events in this country. It's called preventative measures... Ok so this wasn't exactly in that kind of league, but does anybody remember reading of the parties that got out of hand after being advertised on Facebook? Whilst I agree it may have been over the top by the police, I'm sure you can see the point.... There were 15 people at the event at the start, but how many would have turned up? And what's wrong with sending invites to people you want to attend a party? That way, nobody, including the police would've known anything about the event. But why let this get in the way of a good story about "waste of police resources" etc.

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    D.L. Travis, Spirt in the sky  |  July 18 2009, 2:11PM

    I'm writing as an invited guest (& DJ) to said party, I would just like to make things clear, the music I should have played did date back to 1979 and further. I hand picked a selection of 60's, 70's, 80's and the best of the new stuff (with a bit of radio darts thrown in). I'm sure this would have been a well behaved and jolly affair. Shame. All I can say is QUACK QUACK OOPS Devon & Cornwall Constabulary. Yours Dave.

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    John, Glasgow  |  July 18 2009, 3:32AM

    This is plain stupid!. IF, and it is a long bow to draw, the police feared this may have been a rave, the appropriate response would have been to send a single car out to find out what was going on and to give advice on how to deal with potential problems IF (again a very big if) people had seen the facebook and decided to crash the party. ¿Had it gone ahead, it is likely that far more of our resources would have been used to police the event '... TOUGH! That's the job of the police. To deal with things WHEN they happen, NOT to put a stop because something might happen. With an attitude like that, wouldn't it make more sense to place a curfew on the whole country? Surely that would reduce the drain on 'police resources'. I saw a government member telling a group of people the other day that the highest priority of the Government should be the protection of it's people. NO IT SHOULDN'T!! The priority should be the protection of the people AND their way of life. What is the point of protecting a soulless, colourless life? What is the point of being safe from accidents, terroists, criminals, et. al if it becomes that we have to be afraid of/watch out for those doing the protecting? I suppose these police officers were merely following the governmental line. Safety first, to hell with freedom.

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    anon, In your back yard...  |  July 17 2009, 10:01PM

    Jesus Christ, with more and more stories like this, by the time the real terrorists show up, I won't know who to root for any more.

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    Jim, Chicago  |  July 17 2009, 9:59PM

    We're hearing about it in the USA too. This is pretty disgusting. The police should have at most sent a pair to see what was going on. What raves go on outside at 4pm? If they really thought it was a rave, they would have checked at 9pm which is still before people start gathering. This is just a police department using hammers everywhere because they can. 15 people gathered together at 4pm with a grill and sound system, without lights, is hardly indicative of a rave.

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    Dan, Exeter  |  July 17 2009, 8:13PM

    I'm too old to be going in for all night parties in fields, but if someone else wants to celebrate their birthday with friends, family and loud music, then good for them. Happy Birthday mate, have a good time and stay safe. Surely the Police have better things to be doing? If they don't we don't need to be paying for so many of them with our council tax. I think if we let young people enjoy themselves there would be fewer problems with anti-social behaviour and binge drinking in the city centre all the time.

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