‘Half of Norfolk’ could have descended on village hall rave

warning put a Buxton town councillor on alert over a suspicious village hall booking. Photo: ALLY Mc

warning put a Buxton town councillor on alert over a suspicious village hall booking. Photo: ALLY McGILVRAY - Credit: Archant

Relieved village hall chiefs believe a timely police alert may have saved them from a possible rave-style party.

A young caller used a mobile phone to book Buxton Village Hall on a recent Friday night, claiming it was for an 82-year-old's birthday tea.

But, earlier that week, town council clerk Laura Apps-Green had circulated a warning from PC Greig Shepherd, of Aylsham police, warning about the danger of accepting mobile phone bookings without being able to check facts.

Town councillor Val Nichols said the warning had made her suspicious about the 6pm-10pm booking and at 6pm she had waited outside the village hall in a car with her son for 15 minutes.

No-one had turned up. An hour later Mrs Nichols checked again. 'This time there were about 20 people, aged about 17-25, in the back of the car park with boxes of beer, smoking and laughing,' she said.

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Mrs Nicholls drove away and contacted the police who had sent a patrol car to the hall. The youngsters had disappeared by the time they arrived.

'I think we had a lucky escape,' she said. 'Half of Norfolk could have turned up that night. It would have been awful if our village hall had been damaged. We've learned a lesson.'

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A police spokesman said a warning had also been issued to village halls and similar venues three years ago following a number of incidents similar to that experienced by Buxton. People had tried to make short-notice bookings for a music-based event such as a birthday party or for fund-raising, often claiming they had been let down by another venue.

'It has then been the case that once the event has started, large numbers of cars and people turn up, often having been informed of the event via social media and text messaging. Complaints have then been received about loud music causing a disturbance, the drunkenness and anti-social behaviour of young people (often underage) either in the venue or immediately outside, and damage being caused to the venue or property nearby.

'The cost of damage and clean-up in such cases often runs into hundreds of pounds which operators can ill afford. The disturbance to the local community can cause worry and concern for some time after the event,' said the warning.

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