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Store removes 'scare your neighbours' Halloween jingle

PUBLISHED: 17:10 20 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:24 07 July 2010

Richard Parr

A chilling macabre recorded message played to shoppers in a busy Dereham town centre store has been stopped in its tracks after police followed up a customer's complaint.

A chilling macabre recorded message played to shoppers in a busy Dereham town centre store has been stopped in its tracks after police followed up a customer's complaint.

Promotion of Poundland's extensive range of Hallowen products is given out over a recorded tannoy system inside the Dereham town centre store.

But part of the message that makes reference to “scare the life out of your neighbour with one of our frightening masks” upset a customer who contacted the police.

Sergeant Gareth Woodward, of Dereham Safer Neighbourhood Team, looked into the complaint and visited the store to listen to the recording himself.

He spoke to the store's management about the tannoy message, particularly the reference to frightening the life out of neighbours.

“I don't feel this reference to frightening neighbours is in the spirit of Halloween. Officers are happy to support a safe, fun evening but would encourage people to respect everyone's neighbours,” he said.

He said that people should not be encouraged to deliberately frighten their neighbours, particularly the elderly and people living alone.

The police have also issued free flyers for people to display in their front windows asking “trick or treaters” to respect their wishes and not call at their home. The flyers are available from Dereham police station.

A spokesman for Poundland, part of a nationwide group of stores, said that following complaints abut the Dereham store, the company has decided to “remove the Halloween jingle” from the in-store audio. The company apologised to customers at Dereham for any offence caused by the jingle.

Earlier today Sgt Woodward said he was pleased the Poundland had co-operated in the spirit of the evening and removed the offending advertising message off their system.

Meanwhile. the towns of Watton and Dereham are heading for a happier Halloween this year thanks to the efforts of their Neighbourhood Police Teams and partner organisations who are taking steps to tackle seasonal anti-social behaviour.

In the run-up to October 31, officers of the Dereham Neighbourhood policing team will be visiting Dereham and Litcham High schools to talk to pupils about behaving responsibly and will deliver leaflets to shops advising about the sale of eggs and flour.

Local bowling venue, Strikes, has stepped in to help encourage youngsters to stay off the streets by offering reduced prices for booked places on the evenings of October 29 (5pm to 9pm) and October 30 (7pm to 9pm).

At Watton, volunteers, Community Safety Officers and councillors wearing high visibility jackets, will support the town's police in carrying out low-key patrols on Halloween evening.

Also on the night (October 31) a free disco for youngsters aged seven to 17 is planned to be held at the town's Youth Centre.

Breckland Council's executive member for communities Theresa Hewett said : “We hope that children will enjoy Halloween with their friends, whilst behaving sensibly and showing respect for other people. The work of the Safer Neighbourhood Teams , with help from other parents, will help achieve this”.

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