Anger after Darlington teenage party cancelled over safety fears

ANGER has been expressed after a Christmas party for underage youngsters was cancelled over fears it could spiral out of control like a similar event earlier this year.

Party organiser, Paul Hamilton, who also owns Darlington Boxing and Martial Arts Academy, said he was left with no choice but to call off his under 18 dance night, which was due to be held at Seen bar, in Beaumont Street, Darlington, on December 20.

The night was set to be a strict no alcohol event for 250 14 to 17-year-olds, with entry by ticket only and with full security.

However, following a meeting with Darlington Borough Council and the police last week, the owner of Seen, Barry Ladhar, chose to call off the night as concerns were raised about the safety of the event.

The fears were raised after a party at The Grange pub, in Darlington, during the February half-term holiday attracted hundreds of teenagers after being promoted on Facebook.

It was closed by staff less than an hour after it started when dozens of people turned up drunk.

A council spokesperson said: “A number of parents contacted our licensing team to raise concerns about this event which was being promoted through Facebook, including the parent of a 12-year-old who has obtained a ticket.

“Past events of a similar nature at other venues in the town caused major problems and posed a significant threat to the safety of the young people involved. Youngsters had turned up already drunk and with fake tickets and fake ID.

“While we appreciate the intentions of the promoter were good; promoting an event of this kind through Facebook is not without its risks and experience here and elsewhere has shown this.

“We have learnt from past experiences and we would be completely neglecting this duty if we failed to act on the information given.”

They also stressed it was the duty of the council and the police to protect public safety, in particular, young people.

Mr Hamilton said: “I understand why Mr Ladhar has chosen to cancel the night. But there is nothing for young people to do in Darlington and it is just disgusting that because of one group of bad kids, the rest of the good kids have to suffer.

“I have experience in promoting and running events, I am not a 16-year-old boy on Facebook, and I would have ensured the night ran smoothly.”

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