OH NO THEY DIDN’T: Fenland scout group slams Peterborough theatre in panto seats row

EXCITEMENT turned to despair for 20 youngsters on Sunday as a scout group’s pantomime trip ended in a blazing row over tickets.

Children from the 2nd Chatteris Scout Group had been looking forward to watching Aladdin at the Key Theatre, in Peterborough, since they reserved tickets last month.

But when 10 adult volunteers and 20 children, aged from six to 11, turned up at the box office on Sunday they were told their seats had been sold.

Theatre staff said the group had failed to pay for the tickets within the “allotted time” and numerous attempts to contact the organisers had been made.

But Ellen Milroy, who chairs the scout group, claims not to have received any messages from the theatre.

She said: “I demanded to speak to a manager and she spent the whole time doing everything but apologising. I suggested that she went downstairs to tell the children why they wouldn’t be able to see the panto they had been looking forward to.

“She told the children that their scout leaders hadn’t booked the tickets and it was all their fault.

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“I have never come across such appalling customer treatment. It was pretty disgusting all round really.”

Ms Milroy said the group booked tickets over the phone with a member of staff who told them they could pay when they collected them on the day.

A spokesman for Vivacity, the organisation which runs the theatre, said thousands of people had enjoyed the 59 performances of Aladdin without incident.

The spokesman said: “Regrettably, the group booker on Sunday had not paid for the tickets within the allotted time, despite numerous attempts to contact them and therefore, in line with theatre policy, we had to take the decision to release tickets for resale.

“We fully understand how disappointed the group must have been to miss out on seeing the panto, but obviously we had to honour our commitment to those patrons who had paid for their tickets in advance.”

The spokesman said no alternative seats could be offered as it was the sell-out final performance of the panto and tickets “were in very high demand”.

Ms Milroy added: “The children were absolutely gutted. We had hired a coach and they were so excited that they were trying to act out the whole panto on the journey.”

Instead, the scouts spent their day at nearby bowling alley, Lakeside Superbowl.