The LMH ball was repeatedly gatecrashed last Friday, with at least one student crawling along a river bed to gain entrance and many others jumping over walls.
While the Ball Committee has confirmed that a total of 59 people were caught on the perimeter, many invaded the grounds successfully and were able to take advantage of the ball’s attractions without having paid for tickets.
Despite the construction of a ‘watchtower’ replete with floodlights, unwanted revellers were still able to access the event via the river Cherwell and University Parks.
One anonymous gatecrasher crawled along the bed of the shallow river in order to gain access. In the course of his approach, he lost his trousers and a shoe.
He said, “The first thing I noticed when I entered the ball was that there seemed to be no immediately obvious security personnel. The second was that no-one seemed to care that I had no trousers.”
“I got chatting to some other ball-goers and, besides being something of a talking point, no-one minded. Some didn’t actually believe me when I told them what had happened.
“With enough confidence you can seem to belong anywhere, and I stayed the rest of the night before finally limping home in my single shoe. Apparently a few of my friends were also there. They’d hopped over the wall.”
The gatecrasher remained at the event until it ended at 4.30am. Charles Streeton, Joint President of the Ball Committee, claimed that “three or four” trespassers were ejected from the ball.
A separate group of gatecrashers jumped over the wall to gain access to the supposedly sealed college ground.
Speaking to Cherwell, one said, “It was painfully easy; we hopped a gate, climbed a fence and were straight in the middle of it all.”
Another said, “It was a bit like when you get a Ryanair flight somewhere and the guy next to you tells you his ticket cost £200 when yours cost 99p. I was sipping my Pimm’s and watching Pendulum thinking ‘Wow, bum out for you all who paid £90.'”
A third member of the group explained their reasons for crashing the College ball. “Of course it’s not about the money, it’s the thrill”, they said.
The ball’s security team was composed of professionals and College porters. The chief of ball security was LMH Head Porter Laurence Le Carré, a former member of the SAS parachute division. Security was stationed from 3pm for the event, which began at 7.30pm. The first potential intruders were found at 6pm on LMH’s mile long perimeter.
Wristbands had been issued to ticket-holders in order to identify them, but these proved ineffective as a number of students entered via the front gate without them.
Some ball-goers reported that their wristbands were not checked at any point during the evening.
Timothy Townsend, an LMH second-year, complained, “You shouldn’t steal entertainment and food other people have paid for.”
The gatecrashers known by the Ball Committee will receive letters asking them to make a donation to the RNLI – the Committee’s charity of choice.