A PUB artist has accused a council of acting like Oliver Cromwell and the puritans over a clampdown on karaokes and discos.

David Walmsley (pictured), known to pub regulars throughout the area as "Wammy" claims the Blackburn with Darwen Council move will rob him of his livelihood.

And he says he knows scores of other performers and pub landlords whose futures have been thrown into doubt by the decision.

More than 20 landlords attended a meeting with council officers to protest against the clampdown, which will mean every pub staging karaoke events or having a pub singer on stage will have to have an official pub licence.

And although the council has reduced the fee for smaller premises from £586 to £100, licensees say they will still have to pay a fortune for rewiring and fireproofing to meet the required standards.

Mr Walmsley said he has letter from the Home Office, saying he has every right to perform in a pub without a licence because he is on his own, and only needs one plug socket to power his equipment.

He said: "I've got it in black and white and I'll be showing this to the council.

"I've been performing for years in and around Blackburn and they want to put a stop to it.

"In this day and age, in the year 2000, for something like this to happen is unbelievable."

Jean Jacques, landlady at the Florence pub in, Moss Street, Daisyfield said: "Everybody knows Wammy and he packs out the pubs every time he performs."

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.