Gate-crashers blamed as teenage party spirals out of control

'We are devastated' ... the badly damaged floor of the building
'We are devastated' ... the badly damaged floor of the building

Police were called to a Lewes venue in the early hours of Sunday morning when a teenage party descended into mayhem.

Significant damage was caused to the Sixth Lewes Scout Group’s headquarters in Ham Lane.

The floor was broken, toilets shattered, a cooker vandalised and walls hacked – reportedly with axes looted from the scouts’ store cupboard.

It is understood the party, a birthday celebration for which the venue was hired, was gate-crashed by uninvited guests who caused the trouble.

At its height there may have been as many as 200 young people in the building.

A local resident, who preferred not to be named, said: “I’m angry and appalled that the scouts’ facilities have been trashed like this. It’s a ghastly shame.

“I’m concerned that the youth of Lewes will all be tarred with the same brush because of this. That would be unfair – the vast majority are courteous, helpful and well-behaved.”

He understood the damage to the floor – a hole roughly 10ft square – had been caused in innocence by the revellers dancing the ‘pogo’, jumping up and down, to the music.

Sussex Police could not confirm that an axe or axes had been used in the attack on the building.

A spokesman said: “Police were called to reports of an out-of-control party at the scout hut in Ham Lane, Lewes, in the early hours of Sunday morning (October 7).

“Officers attended shortly after 1am where the 17-year-old host requested assistance in closing down the event. A Section 35 dispersal order was authorised for Ham Lane, Mountfield Road, Station Road and the railway station.

“A significant amount of damage has been reported to have occurred, but no offenders have been identified at this time.

“Anyone with information is asked to report online at https://sussex.police.uk/appealresponse or call 101 quoting serial 57 of 07/10.”

Will Perry, Chair of the Sixth Lewes Scout Group, said: “We are devastated that the Scout Hut on Ham Lane was deliberately damaged during a private event on the night of Saturday, October 8.

“Substantial harm to the hut includes structural damage to the walls, floor and doors, broken fittings in the kitchen and toilets, and forced entry to the equipment store.

“We are grateful to Sussex Police for clearing and securing the building, and to the many individuals and organisations in the community who have offered support.

“In the short-term, through the hard work of the leaders and the generosity of several organisations we have ensured that we can run a reduced programme of activities for Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers at other venues.

“Longer-term, a substantial programme of work and fundraising will be required to restore the hut to full working order.

“The Group can be contacted at hutrepairs@6th-lewes-scouts.org.uk.”