The Masters snooker final at Alexandra Palace was brought to a halt on Sunday by a phantom raspberry-blower.
Ali Carter and Stuart Bingham were going head to head for one of the sport’s most prestigious titles and a £250,000 first prize in north London.
But midway through the fifth frame play began to be disrupted by noises many thought to be from a whoopee cushion.
First Carter, 40, was disturbed while he was at the table and when Bingham came to play his next shot the problem worsened.
With the audience starting to laugh the players and referee Brendan Moore were not amused and security was despatched to the area from where the noises were coming.
However on further inspection a small joke device was discovered under a seat, believed to have been placed there by a fan sitting elsewhere in the sold-out arena and activated remotely.
Former world champion Bingham, 43, from Basildon, said: “When I was at the table I heard something and I could see a couple of people trying very hard not to laugh near that area.
“Then it went off again and I just thought that can’t be natural, only a couple of people in my family can do that! Apparently it was right under the seat.
“Someone is trying to have a laugh, but it is our livelihood and a serious business – and these things can go a bit too far.”
Tournament director Mike Ganley said: “We actually had a similar incident earlier in the week, and so have been looking out for the devices.
“All bags are checked for every session coming in to Alexandra Palace, and there are sweeps of the seats.
“So it is someone coming in with that intention and placing a very small device – often the same size as a phone – under one empty seat and then heading for their own purchased seat.
“For that reason it is a very difficult thing to stop, and even when the device is activated, to find and apprehend the person responsible.
“You want spectators come to watch and enjoy the snooker and act fairly towards the players, who are competing for a living and a lot of money.
“It has been a magnificent week at Alexandra Palace and players and spectators alike have enjoyed the atmosphere and great new facilities, so we want to avoid any repeat.”
Bosses are determined to ensure there is no spate of copy-cat incidents for future tournaments, including the World Championship at the Crucible in April.
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