"I could have told them there would be trouble....and there was."
So said despondent care home manager Ron Parks yesterday as he picked his way over a pile of broken glass, smashed easy chairs and bent zimmers outside the Glades Home for the Aged in Leicester.
What began as a normal Wednesday afternoon of parlour games, TV watching and nodding off turned nasty when dayroom staff failed to notice in time that their charges were tucking into bags of the controversial new range of Alco Werthers. It transpired later that a computer glitch had led to the normal weekly supply of Werthers Originals being wrongly ordered.
Trouble flared after an argument over a game of German whist escalated into a fight involving up to twenty residents of both sexes. Tables and chairs were overturned and a new 40" Sony television was left with a tripod walker embedded in its screen.
"All Werthers varieties are in similar red and yellow packets. It was a disaster waiting to happen," said Mr Parks, nursing a broken rib after receiving a haymaker earlier in the day from one of his oldest residents after he and other staff had waded in to stop the mayhem. "Mrs Proudfoot was like a completely different person," he added.
"The residents are all back in their rooms now but there are going to be questions in the morning. Such as where are the other three boxes of sweets that were delivered this week? They're missing from the store room."
Calls to remove the new Alco Werthers from the market received short shrift from confectionery distibutors Treborite.
"You've heard of alcoholic ginger beer? Well this is the same idea. It's basically a novelty product. What people do with it is their choice. It's a free world. We should be allowed to do whatever we like and to heck with the consequences. Ha Ha Ha Haaaaaaa....." responded Treborite director Adam Schmidt last night.