LANCASHIRE police's Chief Constable is heading for a High Court show-down in a row over playing music in police stations.

Music licensing authority the Performing Right Society (PRS) has accused Steve Finnigan of infringing copyright by allowing music to be played in police stations throughout the county.

Now the PRS is seeking an injunction against Mr Finnigan which could turn all police premises in Lancashire into a music-free zone unless the force buys licences to play music.

The PRS is also claiming damages for copyright infringement.

The PRS granted licences allowing music to be played at headquarters, and at a sports hall in Hutton in 1984, and at the mounted branch in 2006, according to a High Court writ.

But there are no licences covering the force's 34 police stations, or its operations support and operations planning premises, according to a writ issued at London's High Court and just made publicly available.

It is not known what type of music the writ refers to.

Eight other police forces in England and Wales are said to have informed the PRS that music is played in most police stations and headquarters as background music.

Music is also said to have been played in staff gyms, in training videos, at office parties, conferences, presentations, and to callers on hold, the writ says.

Eleven police forces have refused, or failed, to obtain licences for music, but no police force has refused on the grounds that no music is played by officers or used by them, or on the grounds that music is not performed in all the premises and police stations, the writ says.

Music which should be licensed is played in most police premises across the country, the writ says. From this, the PRS infers that music is also played by Lancashire police officers.

Niamh Noone, head of legal services at Lancashire Constabulary, told the PRS that she had instructed her constabulary to ignore PRS's request for information needed to ensure officers could be properly licensed, it is claimed.

Ms Noone emailed the PRS saying she had instructions to accept service of proceedings against the force, the writ says.

The PRS legal team asked her to provide a detailed response and set out the police force's position in full, but she failed to do so, and they believe that as she has not disputed the allegations, the Chief Constable is admitting the claims.

Lancashire police refused to comment on the writ.