Fans felt the full ‘force’ of the law when police were called to the Norwich Star Wars Open Day after Doctor Who fans gate-crashed the family event after being refused entry by rival fans.
The long-standing rivalry between members of the Norwich Sci-Fi Club and the Norwich Star Wars Club came to a head after it was claimed that Sci-Fi Club Treasurer Jim Poole and other members had used Facebook to ‘embarrass’ and ‘undermine’ the event .
Mr Poole said he had attended the event ‘in good faith’ and was looking to collect autographs from Graham Cole and Jeremy Bullock for a Doctor Who diary to be auctioned for charity.
It was when Mr Poole refused to leave after being told he wasn’t welcome at the event that the police were called to answer a claim that an assault had taken place.
The secretary of the event’s organisers, Dominic Warner, commented on Wednesday:
For four weeks leading up to the convention we have had nothing but nasty comments from that group.
“One of the group’s committee members had been posting on social media that he was going to come and cause trouble. So when he turned up on Sunday afternoon we refused him entry into the convention.
It all got a bit heated but it was our event and we were bang to rights not to let him in. Police were called and then I think a few of the people he was with were rounded up as well.
Norfolk Police said they had been called to reports of a man being assaulted at the convention but a spokesman confirmed that:
After lengthy investigation, talking to witnesses and reviewing good CCTV footage, it was confirmed that there was no assault.
The two rival groups were spoken to and advised to keep out of each other’s way.
The altercation has since garnered coverage from The Sun, The Wright Stuff, Digital Spy, BBC Radio 2 and EDP 24 where members of the Norwich Star Wars Club leapt to the defence of the event against ‘lazy journalism’ and ‘sensationalism’ citing the £400 raised by a charity auction at the event as the real story of the day’s events.
A statement issued by the Norwich Star Wars Club Chairman also rallies against press ‘exaggeration’ before offering an olive branch to their sci-fi rivals:
…There was a “minor” verbal altercation between a member of the Norwich Star Wars Club (NSWC) and a member of the Norwich Sci Fi Club (NSFC). Police were called to prevent any escalation and this was so. The 2 members of the NSFC who entered the UEA event did so to obtain 2 signatures for a Diary that is to be auctioned off for good causes.
The press would have you believe that there were 12 people all brawling outside the event and chaos ensued and this was clearly not the case.
Both groups shook hands at the end of the matter and have both agreed to put any differences aside and to work together for good causes.
The NSFC will be inviting the NSWC to attend as guests to NOR-CON IV to be held in September.
A storm in a Death Star?
(Via Yahoo! News UK.)