back to article Riot police raid birthday barbecue for 'all-night' Facebook tag

Riot police stormed a man's 30th birthday barbecue for 15 guests because it was advertised as an "all-night" party on Facebook. Four police cars, a riot van, and a force helicopter were dispatched to a privately-owned field in a small village near Sowton, Devon in the UK on Saturday, ordering the party shut down or everyone …


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  1. JimC Silver badge


    There was a so calledRave near me the other month. Cops were loudly provlaiing how good they were at closing it down, but I never jeard a thing from the kids. The damn helicopter howevering directly over my house from about 5am on the other hand was a major public nuisance.

  2. Martin 71 Silver badge

    How did the police get on his friends list?

    Or was he silly enough to have his profile 'Open'?

    Yes, overdone, heavy handed, bad PR, and all the rest of it for sure. But- If you advertise a party as all night in a way that's open to the public... you're in danger of being gatecrashed by all kinds of undesirables, not necessarily just the boys in blue.

  3. Clint Sharp
    Black Helicopters

    Bloody good job

    Should be thankful for small mercies, someone could have had the audacity to be over 5'11" tall and in posession of an offensive camera, they'd have called in the ARV and shot them all.

  4. Bad Beaver
    Big Brother

    Rule Britannia!

    Over here in Germany, in my Big City By The River, you are — effective today — no longer allowed to carry glass-containers (like a glass or a bottle) in a certain popular amusement district during the night hours. That is supposed to be a precaution to stop people getting wounded, which is a major issue at nights. All fine and dandy, but if you happen to LIVE in this district, you are not supposed to have glass on you either, unless it is "closed and unreachable", ergo in a closed backpack or locked suitcase (like a gun), and shopping bags don't qualify. You are also not supposed to reach for a glass-container while passing through that district IN YOUR CAR. "You are advised to use plastic if you want to take a nip by the red light" is what the paper said. You might be stopped by the police at any time and if you fail to discard your glass-container at that point there will be a hefty fine.

    Why am I telling this? Because I found parts of this to be pretty ridiculous, namely the car and resident related bits. Now according to your article, what they are telling us effectively is that in the UK there are police officers watching FACEBOOK for parties, stopping violent party outrage before it even gets started. That is just... awesome. We still have so much to learn over here in terms of applied fascism, I don't know whether we will ever be able to catch up!

  5. James Butler
    Big Brother

    Thank Gawd!

    I'm just glad I live in America, where the repetitive sounds of copier machine parties can blare without concern for whether they will be mistaken for a rave ... where birthday celebrations involving under 20 people on private property are still regarded as non-threatening events ... and where it costs way more than 200 bucks to dispatch a police helicopter. Enjoy your warm beer and boiled beef, dudes. That's as good as it gets.

  6. David Perry 2

    Common sense?

    Going to look at the 'rave' and talk to the organiser is one thing. Storming it with a waste of resources is another - ridiculous.

    If the ranking officer who gave the order for this charade (assuming it was someone higher than rank and file plod, who probably get a lot of flack for decisions that weren't there's to disobey) lacks the common sense that is clear to see when you know the whole story then

    a) the wrong people are in charge (look at the DeMenzes shooting - commanders made the screwups)

    b) no flipping wonder organised parties go underground, and when good stuff is driven underground then dirtier stuff gets even deeper. And that probably involves gangs, violence, drunks and all sorts of things the police SHOULD be dealing with (and not always by force at that).

    Fail cos with happenings like this the police force deserve a lot of the flack they get - and all sorts of other bad stuff you can legitemately say about the police as an organisation.

  7. James 100

    MORE resources?!

    So, had they not stormed it with riot police and a helicopter, it would have taken them even MORE resources than that to "police" a BBQ with 15 people attending? Forget the suicide bombings, all Al Qaeda needs is a big bag of charcoal and some beefburgers and they'll overwhelm our "law enforcement" buffoons!

    Now, if they're going Gestapo on anything listed on Facebook as an all-nighter, everyone is hereby invited to my all-nighter at Gordon Brown's place. All welcome, particularly jackbooted stormtroopers who think massive overreactions somehow "save" resources...

  8. dr_forrester

    The benefits of being a citizen

    See, over here in the States, we have a right "peaceably to assemble."

    Maybe you should try a written constitution.

  9. the real jacob

    What exactly...

    were those burgers made of?

  10. David Edwards

    Is it only Reg that notices this

    Why does this type of harrassment never make the nation news, or local news. Could it be that the Beeb and ITV get 50% of thier programs sponsored by the cops so they dont want to show them being a bunch of muppets??

    They should be ridiculed and then prosecuted for this.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What the f*ck!?

    is the mad cow on about??

    "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."

    Sorry, so what, the police were "extremely concerned" that there might be an all night party somewhere?!? Sorry, did I miss something?! If it wasn't so fucking symptomatic of everything that is going very wrong with this country (and the world) today it would be fucking hilarious.

    Oh my god, people are having a party, and it might last some time. NO WAY. Not in this dictatorship, sonny jim! There might even have been DRUGS. NO WAY!?! Quick, lets get them in the army and ship them out to get killed for no reason whatsoever, but for shitting christs sake dont let them get high all night.

  12. SuperTim
    Black Helicopters

    They were well justified.....

    that facebook is a bloody menace. He would have ended up with 14 ex-schoolfriends who never talked to him in school....

    they also need to ensure that no pictures were taken of the bust for section 44 reasons (or 43 or whateverthefuck they feel like).

    I hope they were doing a hog roast.... i love the smell of a burning pig.....

  13. Alex 0.1


    Pretty much sums up the police and bureaucracy in general these days, though I would have loved to see the birthday guy take a stand and refuse to pack up - Would be interesting to see how long an arrest for "quiet orderly conduct in a private place" stands up with the IPCC involved.

  14. raving angry loony


    SO glad I left the UK. 15 people at a BBQ is a dangerous and illegal "rave" now? Bloody police state, make no mistake.

  15. Anonymous Coward


    Yet another strike for the plod public relations, although if the bloke had a private profile the plod couldn't have known what was happening. Hope none of the guests had a camera or they would really be in the shit.

  16. Jon Wilson
    Big Brother

    *checks date*

    Nope, it's the 17th of July, not April the 1st. Holy crap. This is real.

    What's freaking me out is how the rozzers got wind of this menace to society. Either they were trawling Facebook or someone dobbed them in - in which case perhaps there's more to this than meets the eye. Who are Mr. Poole's enemies, I wonder?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So, while the British army are in need of more helicopters, the British police are using them to break up parties. Still, it was only £200 down the drain to go and bully a few soft targets.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Good job!

    You see! You see! How can you expect the PM to deploy more helicopters in Afganistan, when they are obviously required for the prevention of such henious crimes back home?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Taliban rules

    Well they should have read the rules more carefully.

    Taliban rules are clear enough:

    Sharia law was interpreted to ban a wide variety of activities hitherto lawful .... music, dancing, hanging pictures in homes, clapping during sports events, ...pool tables, chess, masks, alcohol, tapes, computers, VCRs, television, anything that propagates sex and is full of music, wine...

    So what did they expect? The Taliban came in and shut them down, checked their phones for dirty pictures of women (another Taliban crime) and restored double plus Devon goodness.

  20. tkioz

    Did Someone

    Did someone in blue not get an invite?

  21. Sarah Davis

    How dumb !!

    "far more resources would have been used" - jesus on a stick, how many dumb-ass devon cops would they have actually sent to prevent 15 people eating bugers? It's good to know that our taxes aren't wasted by idiots with nothing better to do. They must be gagging for crime down there. One idiot devon cop here's about a birthday b-b-q and figures it must be a terrorist bash.

    actually, that's quite scary. if thats what dumb cops do in Devon then i should be worries as i live in London and i just ate a burger - should i be expecting the riot squad (eep, I better go and hide under the bed as my friend has just opened a jar of mustard!)

  22. Anonymous Coward


    The police are gung-ho and thick as pig shit.

    On second thoughts, that's not news at all. Everyone carry on with your business.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rave on

    Don't you Brits have some terrorists to go catch or something? And what are the fuzz doing watching Facebook for parties, anyway? Nothing better to do, apparently.

  24. OG


    6 cars were stolen, 1 person was raped, there were 3 burgleries and 4 other violent crimes were commited.

    Oh and someone somewhere smoked a joint, or 3.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    epic fail

    it saddens me that i am not suprised or shocked by this. that my opinion of the government and the police force has become so jaded over time from how they conduct themselves. i wouldnt put anything past them anymore. those with power abuse it - period.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Do we need more evidence

    of data abuse.

    The police should be banned form using computers, unless they hold at least a computer science degree, enough of this cowboy computer usage, computers are not toys and should be used by properly qualified professionals. Computers access should be removed from the digitally challenged.

    It is just mayhem.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    I'm missing the bit of the story where the plod miscreants were all sacked and the chief constable apologised and promised such a balls up would never happen again.

    You might like to check your copy for the missing paragraph.

  28. eryn


    is this how my taxes r being spent?!!! FFS

  29. Tankantoo


    Watch what's happening around you, fellas. England may not yet have the full-blown characteristics of an oppressive, no-way-out, total surveillance police state, but there's a new brush stroke every day.

  30. JMB

    ‘Riot police raid birthday barbecue for 'all-night' Facebook tag’

    I wonder if these brave plod will feature on Police Camera Action?

    The £200 sounds like vague figure made up so it does not sound as if too much money had been wasted. If it had been a real rave then they would have claimed it cost tens of thousands of pounds to deploy the helicopter.

    The all night parties celebrating when Gordon Broon gets voted out of Downing Street will have to be careful they do not get raided by the Keystone Cops.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    His neighbours dropped him in it...

    ... They have apparently complained about loud music at his address in the past.

    So I guess the neighbours decided to do the low-tech version of SWATting (the habit of calling the SWAT team to an address under the guise of a robbery/hostage situation)... They called the cops and told them that there's a rave happening.

    Nice neighbours.

  32. Doug Glass


    If your coppers like doughnuts as much as those in the USofA, there'd a-been 15 trampled guests with jackboot prints on their backs. Maybe even a killin' or two.

    And of course stoopid is a stoopid does. He must have left facebook with all the defaults in place. If you're going to be dumb; you'd better be tough.

  33. James Le Cuirot
    Big Brother

    I feel ashamed to be British

    I assumed this was in the US until I got to the second paragraph. I know things are getting here but jesus.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    All too believable

    In a democratic country the police would be powerless to act until a crime was comitted. We will long for those days

  35. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  36. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Time for a spot of entrapment?

    So who's going to be the first to wire up their house & garden with all the webcams, mobile-phone videos and sound recording kit they can lay their hands on. Then hold a well-publicised "night time" event that is both harmless and legal and wait for everyone to get threatened with a good tazering by a gaggle of badly led PCSOs - grumpy 'cos ithey're missing afternoon telly on CBBC?

    If there just happened to be a few local reporters[1] present, that might add an interesting perspective, too.

    [1] Though as noted above, their silence seems to be deafening - maybe they are too dependent on tip-offs from plod for some of their other stories, or does the editor-in-chief have a funny handshake?

  37. Grivas Bo Diddly Harm

    'ello 'ello 'ello

    Following the link from the article to the BBC site, and following a further link, one finds this. Suddenly things aren't quite so clear cut.


    Police believe they prevented a rave in Devon on Saturday night.

    About 30 people had turned up at Sowton near Exeter by mid-day on Saturday afternoon to what organisers said was a 30th birthday party.

    But local people, fearing a rave was going to take place after previous events with loud music at the same premises, alerted the police.

    Organisers have been told to get licences from the local authority before they organise further events.

    The event was closed down under section 63 of the Criminal justice and Public Order Act 1994.


    But how of its age that legislation sounds, though: "wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats". One can imagine all these Tory MPs sitting around, still mildly surprised that they'd won the 1992 election, trying to define something they dislike or fear in such a way that Glyndebourne or Proms In The Park doesn't get closed down under the same legislation.

  38. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Camo means military

    "Poole said it was about 4pm when eight officers with camouflage pants and body armor jumped out of their vehicles and ordered everyone out about an hour into the party."

    Good think it wasn't Gordon Freeman's 30th birthday party then. Apparently Civil Protection does not need to properly wear blue either? Nearer to you, Sierra Leone.

  39. Lost in a maze of twisty messages, all alike.

    Now you know

    Now you know exactly what the Criminal Justice Act 1994 means to you.

    Don't forget that some of us tried to warn you. We've had 15 years of it - now your chickens are coming home.,

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    How did he know

    What colour the Officers' pants were?

    Helicopter deployed, because I posted something on the internet.

  41. Skymonrie
    Paris Hilton

    Sheds a single tear

    I feel almost sick reading this; when are we truly going to unite as a democracy and slap the silly bstards that condone this sort of act? The really scary part is, when I told someone about it; they weren't surprised at all...

    Paris because, she'd have found a way to get that Barbecue roasting and the helicopter would have got a great angle.

    P.S - I R no terrorist

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Safe under their watchful eyes

    Don't trust your life and acquaintances to Zuckerberger's all-seeing eye.

  43. Sabine Miehlbradt

    I do not get it

    a) an appropriate response was to bring in a riot squad? How about a quick phone call to the host or the village constable "passing by"

    b) The 15 guests were ordered to leave in the middle of the afternoon because they *might* at some later time play rave music or be disorderly? On what grounds?

  44. david 63


    that's all

  45. AB

    I've had bigger parties in my halls room at Uni

    _Advertised_ on the Internet? Was the birthday boy promoting the event to people he didn't know? 15 people!? Really? 15? Why would the event have needed policing at all? Were they trespassing? What laws were broken?

    Oh crap... now I look, I see that this story is so ridiculous that I'm actually agreeing with comments posted on the Daily Fail's readers' comments section. Ouch.

    Andrew Poole, you have my sympathy - I'm sorry your birthday party was ruined by plod wanting an excuse to try on their riot gear (not much call for that in Devon, one imagines?) On the other hand, look on the bright side: you'll be dining out on this story for years to come.

  46. DavCrav Silver badge

    Fake events?

    To cement the absurdity of the police's stance, if a few thousand people set up pretend parties on Facebook in fields around the country, I wonder what would happen? Would they arrest you for false advertising?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So you really do have a FaceBook division in the Police Dept.?

  48. Anonymous Coward


    Once they got there, anyone with a brain could figure out it wasn't a rave. Obviously, the police didn't bring the necessary equipment when they came.

  49. Mike 61


    I had 300 people at my wife's birthday party and you could hear the music 2 miles away (so I have been told), but law enforcement did nothing until the reports of gunfire..

    Well, actually, unknown to us, they did set up a road block about a mile down the road and started turning people away at some point, but they didn't storm the place.....

    Of course this was before facebook, so we just posted fliers everywhere..

    That's just sooooo, wrong.

  50. dave hands

    In Soviet Britain...

    You shall not be happy.

    You shall not be glad.

    You shall not stay up beyond bedtime.

    You shall not listen to dance music.

    Anyone would think these were adults on private land...

    And does this also mean that "they" are monitoring facebook?


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