THE attempted sabotage of the Yorkshire Brass Band Championships held in Bradford is being investigated by specialist fraud police.

Lofthouse Brass Band, which won the fourth section at the competition, was afterwards found to have used ineligible players.

However, further investigation found that someone had posed as the band's conductor online to remove names of players registered to take part before the event.

It meant that when the Wakefield band took part in the contest at St George's Hall on March 5 and 6, it appeared it was fielding ineligible players.

The other teams involved in the contest were all sent emails from a fraudulent account informing them of the breach of rules.

After investigation by organisers, the band has been exonerated, and will go on to play the National Brass Band Championships.

The incident is now being investigated by Action Fraud, the national fraud and cyber crime centre.

Peggy Tomlinson, secretary of the Yorkshire Brass Band Championships, said: "Something like this has never happened before as far as I'm aware.

"Some unknown person had impersonated the musical director of the band and cancelled registrations of three of the players.

"Someone has gone to quite a bit of trouble to do what they did.

"It is almost certainly someone in the brass band community who has done this. They would have to know about banding and contesting.

"It is very sad that someone would go to such lengths to discredit a community band.

"Why someone should target them I don't have a clue. It is unforgivable really. If they succeeded the band would have been devastated."