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

Four cars, van, helicopter storm 15-guest cookout

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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 would be arrested.

Andrew Poole, a coach driver from Sowton, said his birthday barbecue was busted up before they even had a chance to plug the music in, reports the BBC.

"What effectively the police did was come in and stop 15 people eating burgers," Poole said.

The event was shuttered under section 63 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which grants police powers to remove persons attending or preparing for a "rave" (defined as playing amplified music "wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats," during the night).

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.

He claims his party was advertised on Facebook as an "all-night" affair in case his guests wanted to stay the night.

A police spokeswoman told the BBC the helicopter was deployed for less than 20 minutes, costing about £200.

"The decision to close down a rave or illegal music festival is not taken lightly," she said.

"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."

The spokeswoman added if the party hadn't been stormed the officers, riot police and accompanying helicopter, "far more resources would have been used to police the event and there would have been considerable disruption to neighbouring properties." ®

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