Andrew Poole said there was a barbecue to celebrate his birthday
Action to prevent an "illegal rave" in Devon last week has been defended by police, despite claims the event was merely an organised birthday barbecue.
Locals feared a rave was to take place at Sowton, near Exeter, on Saturday and called the police, who closed the event down. A force helicopter was deployed.
Andrew Poole, who was celebrating his 30th birthday, claimed police riot vans turned up before any music was played.
But police said it had been advertised on the internet as an all-night party.
Mr Poole, a coach driver from Sowton, said 15 family and friends had come to the event, where they were watched by a police helicopter for about 15 minutes.
He said before they had turned on the music, four police cars and a riot van arrived and demanded the barbecue was shut down and everyone leave.
The event was closed down under section 63 of the Criminal justice and Public Order Act 1994.
"We were nowhere near anyone, we weren't even playing any music," he said.
"What effectively the police did was come in and stop 15 people eating burgers."
Devon and Cornwall police said the helicopter flew over the site as it returned from another task.
A police spokeswoman said the helicopter was deployed for less than 20 minutes at a cost of about £200.
"The decision to close down a rave or illegal music festival is not taken lightly," a police spokeswoman said.
"On this occasion, we were extremely concerned how the event had been advertised on the internet as an all-night party and it was therefore necessary to take the appropriate steps.
"Had it gone ahead, it is likely that far more of our resources would have been used to police the event and there would have been considerable disruption to neighbouring properties.