Facebook party forces potential alcohol ban at beach resort

August 2008

Live events

It was planned to stop every shop and pub in a seaside resort from selling alcohol after it was targeted as the venue for a “night of mayhem” beach party for 10,000 people organised on the social networking site Facebook. Police officers in Torbay, Devon, say that thousands of revellers were expected to gather at one of five possible beaches for the mass party at the weekend. The event had been advertised on Facebook with organisers hailing it as “the biggest ever beach party” with alcohol, loud music and barbecues. Described as a “night of mayhem” between the 4 th and 6 th July the exact location and time would not be posted until hours beforehand and police, fearing a health and safety risk, were desperate to stop the party taking place. Officers claimed the mass beach party was planned to be held next to one of five beaches – in Torquay, Paignton, Preston, Goodrington or Broadsands and planned to use powers under the Licensing Act 2003 to introduce an emergency blanket ban on the sale of any alcohol in the five areas. Police said as soon as they know the location every retailer and pub in a specified area will be banned from selling alcohol until the party is cleared. Superintendent Chris Singer said: “The event is likely to cause disruption and difficulty for our community. The supply and consumption of alcohol would add to those difficulties. “It may therefore be necessary for me to apply to magistrates to instigate the provisions of Section 160 of the Licensing Act 2003. “I fully understand making the order would be an unprecedented step, and one which would not be taken unless fully justified.” Over 4,000 youngsters confirmed their attendance and police were worried that the number would rocket to 10,000. But licensees in the area said that banning alcohol on one of the busiest weekends of the year would be “catastrophic” for retailers. But the police warning worked and within a few days the Facebook page warned that people attending beaches in Torbay on the weekend “will be asked to leave or be arrested”. It continued: “Do not travel to Torbay. There will still be a high police presence around the coast” adding that “No event whatsoever will be taking place in Torbay and we urge you to inform all others you know that are planning to attend that it is no longer going ahead” adding “Sorry for any inconvenience” and that the page would be closed “in due course”.

Story from Telegraph News: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2228968/Facebook-beach-party-forces-alcohol-ban-in-Torbay.html andhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/devon/7485813.stm

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