Bell-ringers barricaded by irate pensioner

A TEAM of bell-ringers found themselves barricaded inside a church tower after an irate pensioner took the law into his own hands in a protest over noise.

The unidentified man, thought to be in his 70s or 80s, struck as the campanologists were practising a three-hour peal in the St John the Evangelist Church in Sharow, just outside Ripon, on Sunday, May 29.

The OAP stormed up the narrow staircase leading to the belfry and loudly protested against the noise before threatening to damage their cars.

He then slammed the door to the tower and rammed it shut with a piece of wood, leaving the bell-ringers trapped inside.

The bell-ringers – believed to be visiting from the south of England – were stuck in the small tower for half an hour before being freed by a member of the church who heard the stamping of feet coming from the belfry when she went to lock up.

Their rescuer, Rosemary Triffitt, said: “I wandered up at about 5.10pm and heard this stamping and I thought ‘that’s a funny way to ring the bells’.

“Then I went up to the tower and I could hear the stamping again, more loudly.

“The trap door to the tower had been wedged shut with a piece of wood so I removed it and freed them.

“There’s no way they could have got out of there. I apologise on behalf of Sharow and the whole of Yorkshire. We aren’t normally like that here.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police confirmed they had received a complaint over the incident.

He said: “We were called at 6.07pm on May 29 with reports that a group of visiting bell-ringers had been approached by a man at about 4pm.

“He was allegedly shouting abuse at the ringers and allegedly made threats to damage their cars.”

The spokesman added he believed the man was from the local area but said police were not currently investigating the allegations.