A bah humbug to dancing bear


A mechanical bear who sings Christmas carols has been threatened with an ASBO over his festive racket.

Bernard the 6ft tall polar bear has stood outside The Loft 
Cafe on Shefford High Street since December 1 and has delighted children with his singing and dancing.

He wears a Santa hat as he belts out popular Christmas tunes between 11am and 4pm every day.

But staff at the cafe say they were left stunned when they got a visit from local council officers.

Owners Rob and Teresa Farndon were then told there had been complaints of noise nuisance and they needed to investigate Bernard’s racket.

Employee Abbie McGee, 19, said the bear has been brought in every day at 4pm and was out for the whole of December last year without any complaints.

She said: “The children love him and there’s even one woman who used to put 20p in his pocket every time she went past.

“As soon as you shut the door you can’t hear him anymore, he isn’t loud. He only sings Christmas songs.

“I can’t believe there have been complaints, is no one allowed to have fun anymore?”

She added: “It seems really silly that someone would moan about a bear when we’re on the high street where there is constant noise from the pubs and traffic.”

Central Bedfordshire Council confirmed its officers had visited the premises ‘on a number of occasions’ and Bernard was subject to an “ongoing investigation”.

A spokesman said: “While Bernard has not been deemed a nuisance, we have written to both parties, explaining the situation as part of an ongoing investigation.

“The council takes noise complaints seriously and has a legal obligation to fully investigate them.

“But we also want everyone in Central Bedfordshire to enjoy themselves over the Christmas period and would urge residents and business owners alike to be mindful of their neighbours when planning festive activities.”

The cafe was opened by husband and wife team Rob and Teresa last October.

What do you think? Is the council right to take action, or is it being too harsh? Email your thoughts to us at editorial@biggleswadechro