Groom is stripped naked and urinated on during stag party on Norfolk Broads
- Credit: Archant
Calls are today being made to ban stag and hen parties from hire boats on the Broads after a bridegroom was stripped naked and urinated on in front of horrified onlookers.
The extraordinary scene played out in front of families after the 30-strong group arrived at a Stokesby pub in four boats.
It was reported to the Broads Authority, police and hire company staff who responded to the scene.
PC Paul Bassham of Broads Beat confirmed the incident and said one of the party had agreed to leave the group.
He said police had to deal with stag party incidents 'quite regularly'.
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He added: 'Alcohol is often involved and complaints deal with speeding and anti social behaviour such as swearing or speeding.'
He added, however, that on the weekend of the above incident, there were 25 stag and hen groups on the Broads - but only the one complaint.
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Eyewitness Clive Bygrave said when the group arrived everything had initially been 'all good fun'.
He said: 'They were buying drinks and shots and as they became more drunk they became louder and started swearing.
'Later they started throwing each other into the water. They then threw the bridegroom in and about five or six of them started urinating on him.
'They stripped him naked in front of everyone and waxed him. By this time families had left. When the group eventually left they were bumping their boats into each other and one of them stood on the bow urinating for all to see.'
Mr Bygrave said they had reported the matter, which happened at the end of June, to Broads Beat. 'I have been boating the Broads for 10 years and have noticed general behaviour on the river is getting worse,' he said.
His complaint sparked online debate on the Norfolk Broads Forum, with some posters calling for stag and hen parties to be banned from the Broads.
Major Broads boat hire companies said it was generally only a few groups that caused problems.
Greg Munford, chief executive of Richardsons Leisure, said the company allowed responsible groups to hire boats. 'Some of these groups may be stag or hen parties - we do not prohibit the use of a boating holiday to celebrate an upcoming wedding.'
Herbert Woods marketing director Amanda Walker said they would refuse to hire to anyone who appeared to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol, or if there was an indication the group could be problematic.
What are the rules?
There are no limits regarding consumption of alcohol by the master/skipper of a pleasure vessel in the UK. However, the Broads Authority Navigation Bylaws 1995 state: 'A person shall not navigate a vessel whilst under the influence of drink or drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of taking proper control of the vessel.'
Broads Authority chief executive John Packman said: 'Drinking alcohol while on the water can have very serious consequences for the safety of those on board as well as other Broads users and the Broads Authority takes this matter very seriously.
'Rangers will respond quickly and robustly to any reports of people on boats behaving inappropriately and drinking to excess.
'In most cases this can be resolved with words of advice but we will escalate this to the police and the boatyards if we believe there is any risk to people or proprty.'
What the boat hirers say
Greg Munford, chief executive of Richardsons Leisure, said the company allowed responsible groups to hire boats. 'However, we are aware that not all people behave equally responsibly and thus there are measures we have put in place to ensure the safety of our guests, other river users, the general public and our team. We make them aware that at any point throughout their hire if irresponsible behaviour is reported to us we may choose to terminate their hire immediately. Fortunately, this is a very rare occurrence.'
Herbert Woods marketing director Amanda Walker said they averaged between six to eight stag and hen parties a month between May and October. 'On check in any all-female, all-male or young groups are given strict instructions regarding their conduct. In an extreme case, we would terminate the holiday and insist the group return to the boatyard. It is also worth noting that the majority of our stag and hen parties are very well behaved.'