Monday, March 21, 2016

Police to investigate bogus email plot aimed at sabotaging brass band's progress in competition

A "deliberate attempt" to sabotage a West Yorkshire brass band's progress in a renowned competition has been passed to a police fraud team. Lofthouse Brass Band was deemed to have used ineligible players after winning the Yorkshire Brass Band Championships fourth section. They were later exonerated as a bogus email account had been used to remove some registered players. The national fraud and cyber crime centre Action Fraud has been informed.

The Wakefield-based band, conducted by Andrew Whitaker, won the title at St George's Hall in Bradford on 5 March and qualified for the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain. The Yorkshire Brass Band Championships confirmed emails were sent in Mr Whitaker's name ahead of the competition removing several key players from the registration list. A full list of band performers has to be registered two weeks ahead of the contest.

Mr Whitaker said further emails were sent in his name after the competition to rival bands telling them the band "had won with ineligible players". He said: "I don't think anyone in the brass band community has experienced this before. On contest day at registry, they checked our players against a list and found three on there that we didn't have registered. We went on stage knowing there may be a chance we would be disqualified." He added: "I was gutted, it took a bit of the shine off the win because we had to prove we knew nothing about it."

Peggy Tomlinson, secretary of the Yorkshire Brass Band Championships, said: "We thoroughly investigated and the band have been fully exonerated, the result of the contest stands. It's quite unbelievable that somebody would go to such lengths and do this to a band. It must be someone within the brass band movement, it's just so sad." She added further security measures will now be put in place within the band registry process. Lofthouse Brass Band said: "This is now a police matter and has been passed onto their Action Fraud team."

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