Two sentenced over 'Facebook party riot'

Two men who took part in the so-called "Facebook party riot" were sentenced today.

Keith Berger and James Mahabeer, both 19, were involved in the early stages of the riot that took place in Chapel Lane, Farnborough, in July last year, Winchester Crown Court heard.

Berber, from Farnborough, pleaded guilty to affray after fighting with another man. Police had to use CS gas to clam him down and he was bitten by a police dog.

Mahabeer, from Aldershot, spat and abused police and pleaded guilty to a public order offence.

Friends Jordan Wright, 17, and Seva Nurueva, 15, had organised the party and asked permission from their parents.

They had even handed out flyers to neighbours informing them of the event and stating that the music would be turned down from 1am.

But Jordan had promoted the event on Facebook, on which he had about 500 friends, and trouble started.

Gary Venturi, prosecuting, told the court: "The party had been going to plan but got out of hand when 200 uninvited guests turned up."

He said that things rapidly got out of hand, forcing the police to hit panic buttons and 70 officers from Hampshire and neighbouring Surrey were needed to restore order.

"Serious public order incidents unfolded and police had to form riot line to charge the crowd," the barrister said.

Berber was given a three-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months and was ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work.

Mahabeer was given a 12-month community order.

Passing sentence, Recorder Dermot Main Thompson, said: This was in any view disgraceful behaviour."

In mitigation the court heard both men, who had previous convictions for violence and criminal damage, had turned their lives around with Berger now working as a removal man.