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Graffiti on the walls, rooms ripped to pieces, and a smashed piano, all part of a £30,000 trail of destruction. That’s what happened when 800 teenagers descended on a five-bedroom house in Billericay, after a 14-year-old girl advertised her party on Facebook.
Alcohol-fueled mayhem caused the damage to the family home, including foul language written on walls, overturned furniture, doors ripped from their hinges, and holes smashed in the ceiling.
The party had been dubbed the ‘Project X of Essex’, in reference to American blockbuster, Project X, in which three students plan a giant house party, to make a name for themselves, with massive consequences.
The party was thrown by Sarah Hine, as an early celebration, ahead of her birthday in the New Year, but it got out of control, despite her mother, Esther Hine, being there to try and keep order.
Mrs. Hine said: “There must be £20,000 to £30,000 damage but insurance won’t pay out because we invited them in. I told the parents I would be here to keep an eye out for trouble.”
Partygoers continued to spread the word about the Friday night party, on Facebook and Twitter, even as it spiraled out of control.
Terrified and angry neighbours called the police, who arrived around 9pm to disperse the unruly crowd.
One neighbour, who declined to be named, said: “It was like Belfast in the 1970s out there. It was terrifying to see it in the quiet road. There were hundreds of people out to cause trouble.”
Another said: “They were trying to escape up the road not realizing it was a cul-de-sac. We’ve never seen anything like this before as it’s usually a very quiet road.”
Mrs. Hine added: “I am stunned – why would they do this? There wasn’t supposed to be drink but the police told me they confiscated an unbelievable amount of alcohol from the groups.”
Mrs. Hine revealed she had ignored warnings made two weeks ago that the party could get out of hand when staff at her daughter’s school saw an open invitation to the event had appeared on Facebook
She added: “I just didn’t think this would happen. I knew Sarah knew some people but did not expect that many to turn up.”
Despite the carnage, Mrs. Hine, who works for her husband’s computer consultancy business, has said she will not ground her daughter.
A spokesperson for Sarah’s school, the Anglo European School in Ingatestone, said: “We were saddened to hear about the damage caused to one of our pupil’s homes this weekend following a party which got out of control.
“We were aware that the party was being advertised on Facebook and advised the mother and daughter of the risks this posed.
“We regularly speak with our students about the dangers of social media and while young people from across Essex attended the event we hope our students will learn lessons from this incident.”
An Essex Police spokesman confirmed police had attended a house in Billericay, Essex, on Friday night to disperse a large number of teenagers.
She continued: “Police were called after calls from residents regarding nuisance behaviour in the street.
“Officers found a large number of teenagers had visited the area to attend a party advertised openly on social media.
“No arrests were made and no complaints were made regarding criminal damage.
“However, police cleared the area and assisted with the dispersal of the teenagers and their safe travel home via Billericay rail station.”
There were no injuries to partygoers at the gathering.