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Nightmare for family as umpire comes to stay

Young Toby Harrison's unusual hobby has brought unexpected problems for his parents.

8 year old Toby, from Dudley, West Midlands, collects umpires' autographs and already has a collection of around 300 signed photos and scorecards. Toby and his dad Greg are regular visitors to cricket grounds all over the country, and if they can't get to a game Toby puts pen to paper and writes to the umpires directly.

Autograph hunting is a popular and safe hobby enjoyed the world over.

Last month Toby sent a letter to Hoggshire official Larry Tugg, 71, courtesy of the Hoggshire Umpires Association, and was looking forward to the postman bringing him another autograph for his collection.

However, two days later, a knock on the door of the family's home at midnight revealed an unexpected visitor.

"Larry Tugg turned up just as we were going to bed. He had two suitcases with him and we had to give him £10 for the taxi fare," said Greg. "He then said he was starving, could he have a look in our fridge and did we have any cooking sherry?"

Umpire Larry Tugg arrived with nothing but a styptic pencil and his light meter.

Tugg told the family that he had always wanted to visit Dudley and would be staying until the start of the season.

Not wanting to upset the veteran umpire the family reluctantly agreed to his request. "Toby had to give up his room so that Tugg could sleep there. Then Tugg told him that he would get him autographs of all the Hoggshire umpires if he could introduce him to some of our female relatives, especially ones who had been through the change."

But after less than a week Greg Harrison and his wife Pam decided enough was enough and asked Mr Tugg to leave.

"He was coming back drunk every night and on several occasions tried to get in bed with me and my wife. I told him to go in the morning but he refused, saying that he had squatters' rights and did we want to see him on the streets?"

Grandmother Mary Harrison contacts the Hoggshire Umpires Association after Tugg allegedly made a lewd comment about Dorothy Squires.

After contacting the Hoggshire Umpires Association the Harrison's problem was swiftly resolved.

"I spoke to a gentleman at the HUA and he was most apologetic. He said that Tugg was always doing this and we were entitled to use force to remove him. In fact, he said 'why don't you give him a good kicking on the way out. You'll be doing us a favour'. He said that if we had any problems we should phone back and they would send someone round but it wouldn't be pretty to watch," said a relieved Greg Harrison.

Tugg left shortly afterwards but that wasn't the end of the nightmare.

"Tugg's suitcases were apparently empty when he arrived but not when he left. He had stashed most of the contents of our freezer into one and my wife's entire underwear collection, and the cat, in the other," added Harrison.

Larry Tugg was unavailable for comment today. The Hoggshire Umpires Association said: "we cannot comment on individual cases but in general we would not advise people to give their home address out to any umpire, especially in the close season, Christmas or when the Royal Variety Show is on."