A device which emits the irritating sound of Daniel O'Donnell to disperse gangs may be in breach of human decency, according to a report for the Council of Europe. It says the Majella, named after O'Donnell's wife, is 'bloody hell, god awful, switch it off, arrrghh!' and should be banned for use throughout the UK and Europe.
Its inventor Howard Stapleton, from Merthyr Tydfil, came up with the idea for the device when his teenage daughter was targeted by a gang outside a local shop. 'I realised that if the shop had been playing O'Donnell tunes, she wouldn't have gone anywhere near it in the first place,' he said.
The device has been successful in dispersing youths across the UK, but shop owners claim the problem has been made worse with unruly gangs of pensioners gathering to listen to the Irish folk singer. 'The disruption is almost as unbearable as O'Donnell himself,' said Owen Haugh, proprietor of a corner shop in Carmarthen. 'The noise they make with their inane gossip and clatter of walking sticks; the distinctly stale smell; the unsightly mess of tartan shopping trolleys all over the pavement. It's become a bloody nuisance!'
'They keep coming in asking me to turn it up,' he said, 'but it's already deafening. There isn't anyone under the age of sixty within ten miles of here any more. I keep telling them to turn their hearing aids on, but they just keep saying 'eh, pardon'. I'm on the verge of giving up the bloody shop completely.'
The sound is audible to anyone with normal hearing and, whilst not in breach of any human rights laws, the report says it inflicts 'acoustic pain' on a wide range of people and is 'potentially harmful' to the listening tastes of children.
Mr Stapleton has defended his device, claiming that the latest model has a push-button option that will address the elderly gang problem 'once and for all'. 'I was surprised to receive the full backing of the government for this one,' he said. 'I wasn't paying too much attention after they'd agreed to it, but I think they said something about this 'euthanasia gas' version saving them loads money.'