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When flash mobs go bad

Facebook water fight soaks up thousands of pounds of damage

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An open invitation on Facebook to hold a massive water fight in Leeds has resulted in thousands of pounds worth of damage to its prize winning public garden.

Leeds City Council claims about 350 people with water pistols, buckets and water balloons trashed the Millennium Square garden on Bank Holiday Monday.

The destructive wankery wrought on the garden - built in honor of Nelson Mandela - is well documented on YouTube by various participants. Pro tip for kids, it's never a good idea to document your destruction of property on film and post to the internet.

The council said plants were trampled, turf ripped up and water features emptied and filled with foam.

"Frankly I'm appalled at the total disregard for people's ongoing enjoyment of this beautiful city oasis," said councillor John Procter, executive member for Leisure, in a statement.

"To destroy years of careful cultivation for a couple hours of so-called 'fun' is unforgivable. We will be pulling out all the stops to make sure everything is put right."

Organizers of the water fight have apologized for the damage - blaming an unexpected turnout from publicity on the social networking site.

The council said CCTV footage will be reviewed by police, and may be used as evidence for charges of criminal damage.

The organizers say despite things getting out of hand this year, they plan to host another water fight in 2009. ®

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