Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Wednesday, 4 June 2008 16:06 UK

Busker banned over noisy drumming

Northumberland Street generic
Traders on Northumberland Street have complained about the drumming

A noisy busker has been banned for life from drumming in Newcastle city centre after complaints.

Graeme Conway, 33, from Walker, has been told if he is seen or heard playing in public in the city he will be fined 5,000 and his drum seized.

The move comes after police and the council received more than 20 complaints about noisy reverberations from Mr Conway's African djembe drum.

Mr Conway, who was not available to comment, could now busk in Sunderland.

Mr Conway was given a written warning in September last year after residents complained that drumming outside The Gate complex was going on until as late as 0200.

Djembe drum facts
Originates in West Africa
Players use their bare hands
Shaped like a cup or chalice
The name can be translated as "everyone gather together"
Used in some rural ares to send messages over a long distance

In recent weeks traders began to complain as the drumming started on Northumberland Street.

The drumming exclusion area was then extended to cover the entire city.

Ed Foster, of Newcastle City Council's Night Watch team, said: "Some shopkeepers have been forced to install external speakers under their canopies."

He said: "The problem with drums especially is that they make a regular noise which reverberates around buildings.

"It can cause immense irritation and annoyance for anyone who has to live with it on a regular basis.

"Mr Conway has been stopped from playing outside in areas of the city, although if he is asked to perform as part of an organised event we will look at the restrictions in place."

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