Five schoolchildren have been arrested after police broke up a series of Facebook-organised underage drinking parties – dubbed “CHUNDERFEST”.
Officers have issued a warning to parents over the illegal gatherings which are advertised on social networks and staged in fields and barns.
It is believed the teen organisers encourage the party-goers to down as much alcohol as possible – and even hand out buckets for them to be sick into.
Police say the parties are advertised on Facebook as ‘Chunderfests’ and several have taken place around Braunton, Devon.
Cops say they first stumbled across one of the events on Good Friday when they tried to disperse a group of 50 kids drinking in a barn.
Four teenage boys and a girl have now been arrested and accused of assaulting another youngster at a Chunderfest – then posting images of the attack on the web.
The youngsters – all aged 15 and 16 – were arrested over “serious criminal allegations of a bullying nature” being treated as a possible Actual Bodily Harm at a party on April 13.
One boy was released without action but the others remain on police bail in connection with the assault, which is believed to have been photographed and put on Facebook.
Devon and Cornwall Police has now written to hundreds of parents at nearby schools urging them to stop their children from attending.
North Devon Sector Inspector Roger Bartlett said: “There have been several unsupervised parties which are giving us cause for concern.
“As a result we have received serious allegations of a bullying nature. The incident is being treated as Actual Bodily Harm (ABH) at present.
“Four boys and one girl aged between 15 and 16 have been arrested in connection with the incident.
“No further action has been taken against one of the boys. The rest have been released on police bail.
“The allegations include the circulation of images on Facebook.”
Insp Bartlett has also written to the parents of children in years 9, ten and eleven at nearby Braunton Academy warning them about the booze-fuelled parties.
In the letter he says: “I am writing to you as a parent of a child at Braunton to express the genuine concerns that I have about the potential harm faced by any young person attending such parties.
“Despite the serious nature of the allegations that are being investigated we have information that further gatherings, at this and other locations, may be planned.
“If you know that your child is attending such a party, then I need to impress upon you the risks that your child may be facing both directly to their health through the excessive and unsupervised consumption of alcohol, but also indirectly through their increased vulnerability to potentially harmful behaviour from others created by their intoxication.
“My advice to you is to not allow your children to attend any gathering where you believe alcohol may be available without being sure that there is a fit and proper person supervising their welfare and alcohol intake.
“I do not want any parent to face a call from the police advising them that their child has been arrested, or worse has come to serious harm.”
It is thought the Facebook sites have since been taken down by police.