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Gatecrashers invade web-punted party

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A small student party in the Bournemouth suburb of Winton attracted the attention of 200 rampaging gatecrashers and subsequently 20 coppers, dog handlers and the police chopper after the organiser advertised the bash on social networking site Bebo.

According to the Press Association, the get-together last Friday got a little out of hand when it was invaded by ne'er-do-wells who smashed bottles and urinated in neighbours' gardens. Locals duly called in law enforcement, and a thin blue line "forced the revellers back".

In the stand-off which followed, drunken youths pelted officers with cans and bottles, eventually dispersing at about 3am.

Inspector Neil Munro said: "A student living in the road decided to have a house party at their rented accommodation. She invited some of her fellow students but then decided to advertise the party on the social networking site Bebo.

"We have seen time and again in the media the effects of advertising events on social networking websites. It is never a good idea to encourage or allow strangers into your home. You have no control over the number of people who will turn up and the situation can quickly get out of the home-owner's control."

In October 2007, a 16th birthday party in Chippenham degenerated into a near-riot after details were posted on YouTube. The houseowner was punched in the face when he tried to turn away a group of uninvited youths, and his son badly beaten in the fracas.

The most ill-advised online punt of a party, though, came in April last year when a 17-year-old from Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, decided to throw a sneaky Easter shindig while her parents were away.

She ill-advisedly announced the event on MySpace, and was rewarded with the arrival of "coachloads of aimless youth" from as far away as London who quickly "filled the bath with the family’s crockery, the shower with empty booze bottles, urinated on her mother’s wedding dress and dyed her younger brother’s clothes".

The damage was later put at £20,000, while the teenage hostess feebly defended that her MySpace page had been "hijacked" and the original pitch to a modest 60 guests changed to an open invite to pillage. ®

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