‘Sleep-over’ turns into drug rave with 300 gatecrashers
By the daily telegraph – Friday 30 April 1999
Copyright: the daily telegraph
A TORY council leader returned home to find that a “sleep-over” organised by his 15-year-old daughter for a few friends had turned into a party with 300 gatecrashers.
Paul Bettison, chairman of Bracknell Forest borough council, Berks, was telephoned at a health farm where he and his wife were having a “stress-relieving” break to be told of the mayhem at home. His daughter, Clare, had called police after a loudspeaker announcement was made at a nearby ice rink to say everyone was welcome to an open house and people arrived in their hundreds.
Drugs were being traded, fights broke out and the carpet was littered with cigarette burns as what was meant to be a girls’ night turned into a full-scale “rave”.
Mr Bettison said: “All hell had broken loose after one of my daughter’s friends made the announcement. This girl had even put up posters and sent fliers as far afield as Reading, 10 miles away. Clare, at first, tried to remain cool and thought she could cope but it quickly got out of hand. She told the police what was happening.”
Another girl rang home to get help and her older sister arrived with two adult men, only for the sister to be knocked to the ground and kicked and the men attacked by a gang of youths.
Blood was smeared on wall, carpets were ruined and a fence knocked down as the gatecrashers filled the house, stealing items and raiding Mr Bettison’s drinks cabinet to bolster their supplies of beer and wine. He said: “Clare saw people openly smoking cannabis and dealing in ecstasy but everyone who had drugs vanished as soon as it was realised the police were coming.
“My daughter was terrified for her own and her friends’ safety, plus what I would say when I got home.” Mr Betttison and his wife, Jean, were called at the health farm on Saturday and told what to expect.
“We checked out and raced home. It is fair to say that during the journey I was wondering which of my daughter’s limbs I would like to pluck off. But my daughter was just as much a victim as anyone. She even told me she had thought of killing herself. That’s how desperate she was.”
Clare and her friends had tried to clean up as much as possible and had washed the blood from the walls, said Mr Bettison. “But the whole place smelt like a brewery. The empty cans and bottles filled two wheelie bins and six black binliners.”
An insurance claim for £4,000 had been submitted and Mr Bettison was passing details of his daughter’s friend to the insurance company. He said: “The health farm did a marvellous job in reducing my blood pressure by a third. I dread to think what it has gone back up to.”