'Stolen goods' raid surprises gay party

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The Independent Online
POLICE, acting on information received, raided a house in a South Yorkshire village expecting to find stolen goods. Instead officers were confronted by partying homosexuals in various states of undress.

According to police, the 38 men, aged between 20 and 40, were mainly businessmen and professional people. It is understood several may be married. One sported a mask, others were bound in leather.

'Our officers went in there expecting to find stolen videos and hi-fis. Unfortunately we were not confronted by an Aladdin's cave of stolen goods, but quite another scenario: men in bondage or leather,' Chief Inspector Paul Verity, of South Yorkshire Police, said. 'You could say they were surprised - surprised and astonished.'

All 38 were arrested and have been released on bail. Charges of gross indecency may follow, although police said no sexual acts were taking place when they entered the house in Hoyland Swaine, near Barnsley, from which they removed a 'large quantity of clothes and sexual apparatus'.

There are suggestions that the party was advertised in a gay magazine, which would explain why an anonymous tip-off was made to the Metropolitan Police in London rather than to the South Yorkshire force. Police confirmed that men had travelled from all over the country to attend, although it is not believed any money changed hands.

Ch Insp Verity said: 'The law says homosexual acts can take place in private between consenting males over the age of 21, it stipulates a man and a man, not one man and 37 others.'

The Crown Prosecution Service is considering the case, while police make further inquiries.

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