Norfolk Lab Media Statement

Norfolk Lab have been mentioned in the local press and radio. We have issued a statement in response :

We are quite disconcerted by the media attention from EDP and BBC Norfolk recently. We have also been recently concerned about the nature of the discussions being had about us on public forums such as Facebook, including accusations of antisocial behaviour. We do feel there is a lot of misinformation around and we would like to clarify a few things before they get out of hand. 

Norfolk Lab is a not-for-profit community group serving men who have an interest in certain fetishes. Most of our communication happens on a day-to-day basis through our Whatsapp social group. This group has been a vital support line to many of our  members during the pandemic, supporting single males who often live alone with general, mental, and sexual health information, as well as friendship, companionship, and solidarity. Despite our name, we draw members from across East Anglia and beyond.

We have social days out and evenings down the pub. We also have our “PRIVATE PARTY” events. We hold our private parties at a “PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY”,its registered as a residential and not a commercial building. This means that other than a TV licence to watch our privately-owned videos we do not need any other licences.

Our community group provides a safe place where members can experiment with these practices in a supervised, non-judgmental, supportive environment. These activities involve intimate sexual acts, bondage and roleplay of different forms. We understand that these activities may be shocking to some, but that is also why we keep it private. We have no wish to offend the wider community, and merely want to ensure that our own community is supported, and has a safe space within which to experiment. There is nothing antisocial about our group. 

Please note that: 

  • All activities within our private parties are consensual.
  • All Norfolk Lab activities are legal. 
  • We do not allow under-age participation at our parties.
  • No drugs are allowed on the premises 
  • We do not allow the taking of photographs, other than for specific community or private purposes, by our authorized photographer, who ensures faces and identifying marks are excluded.

We produce limited circulation posters for these events which are not supposed to be publicly displayed. They merely inform our membership of the fact that an event is happening, where it is happening, when, and whether there is a particular theme. The posters name the venue as  “Carberrys”, which is not the registered house name, and our posters do not contain the address. Our private parties are just that, and are not open to the general public. To receive an invitation and discover the full address, you have to be a member of our community.  

For each private party, we have a subscription fee which goes towards basic event planning, snack and soft-drink provision, cleaning and setting up and tear down. It also ensures that individuals taking part in our events take it seriously and prevents ‘tourists’.

Recently a number of false reports have been made by members of the local Sea Palling community to the Police. This has involved officers visiting the venue and  finding no actual cause for alarm or concern. These have included:

  1. Selling alcohol without a licence: This does not happen.
  2. Drug dealers standing outside: Again, Lab is a drug-free zone.
  3. There was a woman screaming: It is a male only event (other than our host). Noise levels within the venue, rarely rise to a level at which they can be heard outside in the carpark, never mind across the road or in the village.  

We would caution individuals making such unsubstantiated complaints, that wasting police time is a criminal offence. Furthermore, making unsubstantiated statements to other organisations is slander. For example, recently, before a planned picnic at Whitlingham Country Park,  officials there were told that “People get arrested at these events in Sea Palling.” Of course, they were concerned, and contacted us about the nature of the meeting. However, this is totally untrue, unfounded and libelous, wasting a lot of our own, and Whitlingham Trust time. The Ranger and the two lovely policemen who checked in on us having a barbecue realised that we weren’t likely to offend, and that the alarmist notifications were completely out of order.

We also think the original article by EDP was erroneous: 

1.    Norfolk Lab is not Mary Carberry. She is our host but not our boss. 

2.    Norfolk Lab is not a business, and does not have a base. We are a social group run by volunteers who hold social evenings regularly. The meets in question are held every 1st Saturday and 3rd Wednesday of the month. We have abided by all Covid regulations and did not meet physically between March 2020 and July 2021.

3.    The disturbance the police investigated was not in the building, but on the street and was caused by local protesters attempting to block the road to our members. 

4.    The police were requested by Mary to be there as she feared that the local protesters might intimidate our club members. This had happened at our previous event in August. I talked to the police both times and am happy to give you details. 

5.    We do not need a license to hold private parties in a private residence. No alcohol is sold. There are no paid services taking place.

Furthermore, according to the Daily Mail report Harry Blathwayt, the local Lib Dem councillor for North Norfolk District Council, said he did not personally object to the parties, but he was ‘understanding of the concerns of many local people’.

He added: ‘People are concerned that the activities at the house might impinge on what they consider to be the natural order of things in a small Norfolk seaside village. There are a lot of families with children here.’

‘The natural order of things’ depends entirely on personal perspective and suggests that what we do is un-natural or against that order. We do nothing anti-social. For us, our parties are ‘the natural order of things’.

The implication of the final sentence is that we are a danger to children. We are not. We have teachers and care workers within our membership. The implication that we are a threat to children or families is insulting.

One thing we regret more than anything else, is the spray painting of our web address and the word ‘pervs’ on sign posts and the beach wall. We do not know who did this, although from the word ‘pervs’ you can be assured that it is more likely to be someone nefarious trying to draw attention to us, rather than someone from within our own group, and thus potentially someone from the village itself attempting to inflame opinions. They lower themselves by destroying their own village environment. Criminal damage is a prosecutable offence, and homophobia, transphobia, and pup-phobia (yes pups are a recognized subculture) are hate crimes.

The only reason we come to Sea Palling twice a month is to enjoy our private parties thanks to the marvelous hospitality of Mary Carberry. We have no interest in influencing any activity outside of the confines of the walls of the Convent, and we certainly don’t want to be a burden to the village. Please let us know if we can be of any further help in decreasing the tensions that seem to have built up due to no fault of our own.

We have been invited to give further statements to the press and on radio and have declined. This is in the interests of reaching a settlement with SPAG at our planned mediation meeting next week. 

Best wishes,

the NLab team