Bingo hall wrecked by ravers


THE HISTORIC Mecca Bingo hall in Essex Road has been trashed by hundreds of ravers who partied “like wild animals” during a 24-hour bender of drink, dance music and destruction.

The illegal party left graffiti daubed on walls, beers cans littering every corridor and thousands of bingo slips strewn across the main room.

Seats were ripped out and piled up and broken bottles and cigarette butts were scattered throughout the devastated venue.

On Saturday night partygoers broke in to the hall which was closed down in March despite protests from regular customers.

By Sunday morning revellers were lying outside drinking beer in the sunshine and the party finally petered out late that night.

The listed building, famed for its Egyptian design, was originally opened in 1930 as the Carlton Cinema.

A resident of Astey’s Row, who lives next door to the hall but would not be named, said: “Loads of vans turned up and next thing loud music started pounding out. In the early hours a guy who lives below me came out and started shouting at them to no avail.

“You can see from the state of the place that they brought almost all of what was inside outside and threw it around like wild animals. Glass was breaking all night – I didn’t get any sleep at all. On Sunday evening they were still here.

“Please don’t come back. I don’t want to repeat that experience next week – or ever.

” While a clean-up took place former bingo club members gathered and voiced their horror at what had happened.

Anne Peacock, 74, of St Peter’s Street, Islington, said: “It’s terrible. I don’t mind if it becomes a church as has been rumoured – but not a place for people drinking at three in the morning. Can you imagine the noise for the neighbours?”

Barbara Maynard, 72, of Highbury New Park, Highbury, added: “They shouldn’t have left it empty all this time – it was up to Mecca Bingo to look after it and they should have had security.”

The rave happened just days before the new owners of the venue were to be announced.

Aaron Armah, a bidder who hopes to open a church on the site, said: “I am not against a party but I am against mindless vandalism. This place has been here since the 1930s and has never been vandalised.”

A spokesman for Mecca Bingo said: “A number of people illegally entered the former bingo club in Essex Road over the weekend. The police attended the site on Saturday and Sunday. The premise has been vacated and we are assessing the damage which we will repair as soon as possible. We have also put in place additional security.

“This incident will not affect the sale process and we will make an announcement as to the future of the premises in due course.”

Police say they were called to the premises but made no arrests.

From Bingo Online / Mecca Bingo review /

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