A BROMSGROVE journalist turned professional entertainer has been awarded £600 compensation after complaining that he was replaced as a lead singer in a band because "he did not communicate enough."

Gary Hopkins, of Old Birmingham Road, Lickey, was lead singer for the ELO Experience, which is an Electric Light Orchestra tribute band.

Mr Hopkins was claiming unpaid wages and holiday and notice pay at a Birmingham employment tribunal following his dismissal. He said he took part in 102 shows for the band in ten months.

The claims were against Blue Sky (Hull) Ltd formerly trading as Rockaria Ltd, which managed the five member band.

Mr Hopkins, who also plays the guitar and drums, alleged the band secretly hired Sean Tomlinson to be the new lead singer, impersonating the Electric Light Orchestra's singer Jeff Lynne.

"They did not have the guts to tell me I was sacked. I was told by the band's agent,'' said Mr Hopkins.

"Their reason for my dismissal was because they thought I had become too distant and did not communicate enough.

"They also felt they could not trust me, believing I would leave without giving them notice. These were the only reasons for my dismissal and they were just not true.

"I think they got rid of me because they conveniently found someone from their hometown.'' Mr Hopkins said he had been a shareholder member of the band's private limited company Rockaria Ltd. But since his dismissal the band had changed the name to Blue Sky (Hull) Ltd and set up another company, Rockaria (UK) Ltd to carry on the band's business.

Mr Hopkins' departure comes as the band has been booked for a ten day night club tour of Las Vegas. They previously appeared at theatres and holiday resorts such as Butlins and Warners.

Blue Sky had opposed the claims, but during a brief tribunal adjournment made a settlement by paying Mr Hopkins £600 in cash.