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Warbling opera singer mistaken for assault victim

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09:54 CET+01:00
Police in northern Sweden broke open the door of a hostel on Friday night after they mistook the sound of an opera singer practising her scales for the heartrending screams of a woman under attack.

Police officers passing the Gamla Fängelset hostel in Umeå became suspicious when they saw a man apparently loitering at the entrance at around midnight.

When the man entered a door code to gain access to the hostel, the officers approached the entrance to investigate. It was then that they heard a woman's high-pitched screams coming from one of the rooms, local newspaper Västerbottens-Kuriren reports.

"They thought somebody in there was in distress and made a decision to raid the premises," police spokesman Peder Jonsson told the newspaper.

But when they forced open the door of the hostel, the police officers encountered the members of a South African choir in the kitchen cooking food.

Because of the language barrier, the choir singers - who were in town to perform at the local opera house, Norrlandsoperan - had no idea why they had received a visit from the police.

But soon a representative from the hostel arrived on the scene and assured the officers that the noise they had heard was nothing more violent than an opera singer training in one of the rooms. Satisfied that nobody had come to any harm, the police officers left the building.

The hostel's foreign guests were left somewhat shaken by the intrusion and took turns guarding the damaged door for the rest of the night.

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