A bingo night at a Westcliff sheltered housing block ended in 12 arrests and a number of minor injuries after a furious row erupted over allegations of cheating. Bosses at Seaview Heights near the seafront have admitted that they have serious doubts about running the regular event ever again, and a police spokesperson has confirmed that the investigation is ongoing into the violent scenes.

Centre manager Nigel House said: ‘Our weekly bingo night has always been a lively event, but in the last few months I have noticed a real nasty edge in some of our regular players. Things almost boiled over a couple of weeks ago when our usual caller was suffering from a terrible cough and the jackpot game lasted for more than three hours, but last night’s scenes were completely unacceptable. As a housing provider, we are not in a position to give any further details as an investigation is now underway, but all I can say is that anyone found guilty of violent behaviour will have their tenancy revoked with immediate effect.’

We managed to speak to a resident who was present at the game who didn’t want to be named, and he said: ‘The same people seem to win every week, and some of us were getting suspicious. My whole table were given bingo markers with a high solvent content that made us all go light headed, and after a few minutes we all started seeing pixies and sparkly rainbows all over the room. We couldn’t even remember what month it was, let alone recognise numbers between 1 and 90. Loads of other people were given these toxic pens, and all of a sudden one of the usual suspects shouted ‘bingo’ after only 13 numbers had been called – this is when I smelt a rat, and possibly methylated spirit as well.’

He added: ‘For some reason, Elsie Waddington from upstairs reacted badly to the chemicals in the air and started waving her Zimmer frame around like a wild animal, and next thing I knew there were about 40 people trying to restrain her and restore order. The guy who kept winning was at the bottom of the pile of bodies and one of the paramedics said that he may never play bingo again – I’m delighted that he got what was coming to him.’

This isn’t the first time that there has been an embarrassing incident at Seaview Heights recently. Last year, the so-called Dizzy Biccies Scandal brought shame upon the town when £300m worth of cocaine was found by police in the building after residents had been concealing it in custard cream biscuits, and it is rumoured that local organised crime boss Norris Di Pickle may have been organising the bingo fixing from his cell at HMP Hadleigh.