Parents who lit birthday candles on three-year-old's cake at play centre party reported to police by British health and safety fanatic
By JR on Tuesday, May 15, 2012
No three-year-old’s birthday would be complete without a brightly-coloured cake with candles on top.
But Oscar Barlow was left in tears when police swooped on his party at a play centre – after staff said his cake was a health and safety risk.
Bosses at Rumble Tumble play centre said the candles constituted a safety risk and if the family wanted to light them they would have to move to a specific area and be monitored by staff.
After a disagreement, Oscar’s mother Natasha Bent and her family trooped out into the car park to light the candles outside instead. But they were stunned when two police officers arrived at the children’s play centre in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.
The children burst into tears as officers spoke to the family over claims they had acted in an intimidating manner.
Last night Miss Bent, 27, insisted she had not been threatening and claimed they were frustrated by the health and safety red tape. Miss Bent said the family decided to visit the play centre after returning from a theme park on Oscar’s birthday last Thursday.
‘When we were there we brought in Oscar’s birthday cake from the car, but just as we were going to light the candles they told us we couldn’t. ‘All we wanted to do was sing Happy Birthday and have Oscar blow out the candles,’ she added.
‘We tried to reason with a staff member but she said we were bullying her and told us to leave, saying she was going to call the police. In the end we went outside and lit the candles in the car park. Oscar and the other children started crying when the police turned up. ‘How on earth would a child get injured by singing Happy Birthday?
‘It was a bad way for a three-year-old to experience a birthday. It’s a special occasion and his first one understanding what a birthday is. ‘I love my son with all my heart and didn’t want other children to have their birthday ruined.’
Her partner David Meir, 32, said: ‘When the police officer told us the staff member had accused us of intimidating her, I just laughed. I had my two sons with me so there’s no way I’d do that in front of them.’
Rumble Tumble declined to comment on the matter. A Staffordshire Police spokesman said: ‘Officers established the dispute was over the level of service received and advice was given to all involved.’