Golden oldies cause a karaoke kerfuffle

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The Independent Online
IT WAS a tough assignment for Uttoxeter police. According to the irate caller, the party over the road was wild. Ravers were pumping up the volume and the peace was being decidedly breached.

One of the ring leaders was called Ossie Tortoishell. Psychedelic or what? Perhaps it was time to borrow some sniffer dogs.

The Staffordshire officers took the rowdies by surprise, particularly those in their nineties. Mr Tortoishell, aged 78 and one of the organisers, said yesterday that pensioners from Highwood Court sheltered housing's social club could hardly believe they had been asked by police to 'calm it down'.

The 'raid' interrupted the social club's first karaoke night, which attracted 35 pensioners and vindicated the club's investment in a pounds 100 karaoke machine to supplement thrice-weekly bingo sessions. 'It was really for some of our deafer members who cannot hear the bingo numbers,' explained Ossie.

'We were not making that much noise. We were all just singing along to Jim Reeves and The Seekers and joining in with Danny Boy and 'On the Sunny Side of the Street'. It was not even 10 o'clock. We never keep anything going after 10pm because a lot of people like to be in bed by then.

'When the police lady came in she said she was ashamed but had to follow up the complaint.' A Uttoxeter police spokesman confirmed officers attended Highwood Court.

The pensioners are undaunted. The volume was turned down 'slightly' and Mr Tortoishell has pledged karaoke will return. 'We are certainly going to have some more. Everybody enjoyed themselves.'

But Marlene Ridge, who runs the Hillcrest Guest House near by, said: 'It was so loud that it was overpowering my television set - and we have got double glazing.'

A Highwood Court spokesman said: 'The windows were open; maybe the wind was blowing in the wrong direction.'