Facebook fuels party chaos

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 11:14 03/02/2014
Liam Kelly, Craig Hunter
STACY SQUIRES/Fairfax NZ

SORRY: Tenants Liam Kelly, 18, and Craig Hunter, 24, say social media is to blame for a series of out of control parties at their flat in Hands Rd, Christchurch.

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Tenants at a Christchurch property home to repeated out-of-control parties say social media - and a problem flatmate - are to blame.

Craig Hunter, 24, and Liam Kelly, 18, are promising the return of peace to the neighbourhood now they have learnt which of their friends to trust.

Graffiti, abandoned bongs, broken windscreens and smashed letterboxes are the result of at least four parties at the men's rented home in Middleton's Hands Rd since they moved in about a month ago.

Police have been to the address every weekend for the last three weeks, including several times on one night to deal with about 200 teenagers.

While police could not stop parties from happening, new legislation meant instant fines could be used as a deterrent to underage drinkers and troublemakers.

On Saturday, police issued five infringement notices to people for underage drinking. Two weeks earlier, they arrested five people for throwing bottles at police.

One neighbour, who did not want to named, said "wave after wave" of teenagers had attended one of the recent parties. Residents spent one Sunday morning picking up glass and drug paraphernalia and painting over tagging.

Hunter said people posting their address on social media had caused "heaps of crowd that we don't normally associate with" to turn up to what should have been private parties.

When this happened on Saturday, they called the police for help.

"About 20 to 30 people jumped off this bus. Again someone had put it on Facebook," Hunter said.

"It's important to keep it [private parties] off Facebook. Keep it to close friends and bounce anybody you don't know."

Hunter, who has a six-month lease on the property, said it was a learning experience.

Their party-hosting days were over and the third trouble- inducing flatmate had moved out.

The men were also fixing the damage and had arrangements in place to help pay for damage to a neighbour's car.

"Be aware of social media . . . it reaches a bigger audience real quick," Hunter said.

Sergeant Ben FitzPatrick said police had given advice to the tenants on what to do when people turned up uninvited, including asking them to leave straightaway.

"If they won't leave then call police early before it gets out of control."

Landlord Des Gee said the tenants had apologised.

To continue living there, they had to fix damage to the house, which includes broken window and holes in walls and doors, within an agreed period. "We know that rental properties are hard to come by and we could give it a family that needs it."

Police said they would be patrolling the area where possible in coming nights.

TWO MORE OUT-OF-CONTROL PARTIES TEST POLICE

Ten people were arrested following two other out-of-control parties in the city at the weekend.

Senior Sergeant Gordon Spite said bottles were thrown at police as they tried to disperse about 80 people, aged 16 to 20, after a party was shut down at a house in Worcester St shortly about 12.10am yesterday.

Spite said his staff were wearing protective clothing and none of them were injured. Five people were arrested for disorderly behaviour.

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Police also shut down a party in Prestons Rd, Redwood about 12.30am on Saturday, he said. Five people were also arrested for disorderly behaviour at that incident.

"There were more parties this weekend than there has been in the last few, but it's not what I'd call a spike," Spite said.

"Facebook is probably the biggest driver. My staff are generally seeing the same faces at all sort of different parties - they are never invited."

- © Fairfax NZ News

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