Police escort to Port Vale after women's choir are mistaken for Chesterfield fans
AN ALL-WOMAN choir travelling on buses to their Christmas concert were given a police escort to Vale Park – after being mistaken for football fans.
Two police motorbike riders with blue lights flashing descended on two coaches carrying 90 women on the A34 near Trentham Gardens on Saturday afternoon.
Officers picked the coaches up after mistaking the passengers for Chesterfield fans and escorted them on a 10-mile journey to Vale Park.
But their mistake was only realised when one of the officers boarded one of the coaches – and discovered stunned members of the Staffordshire-based All Woman choir onboard.
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The group had been heading to the King's Hall, in Stoke, to join other choir members for a rehearsal ahead of a concert on Saturday night.
Choir founder Liz Talbot, aged 38, of Stafford, said: "It was hilarious – but a little embarrassing for the police.
"The women all thought it was a hoot. When the police officer walked onto the coach the ladies started singing Stoke City's anthem Delilah as a bit of a joke.
"Apparently the coaches carrying the Chesterfield fans were also held up as a result."
Retired theatre manager and grandmother-of-one Carol Mitchell, aged 68, of Stafford, said: "We were all looking forward to performing at the sell-out concert and all our family and friends were going along.
"We were heading for our rehearsal, but before we got into the city we saw two police motorbikes scream past us with their lights on and sirens going. They indicated to the driver to follow them so while one went ahead the other rider circled the coaches when he could.
"At first we thought there might have been some trouble in Stoke and maybe the police were giving us an escort to the concert hall for our safety.
"But we then realised something was amiss when the police took us past the turning for the King's Hall and we approached Port Vale's ground.
"The women all started talking excitedly and one said 'I bet they think we're football hooligans because we're in coaches'.
"One of the police riders stopped his bike and indicated to the driver to let him on – by this time we knew they'd obviously got the wrong coaches so we started singing Delilah.
"The poor policeman stood up at the front, looked at these rows and rows of women wearing their dresses and he suddenly went white as a sheet.
"He just stood there and said 'You're not football fans are you'.
"He quickly apologised and got off the coach before making a few calls. We couldn't help it, we all fell about."
Staffordshire Police today accepted the escort mix-up.
A spokesman said: "Thankfully, the matter was taken in good faith and there was only a slight delay."
The coaches belonged to Fenton-based Procters. The company was unavailable for comment.