FOR ten years, a plethora of Plonkers has left music fans thinking they were seeing double.

The Plonkers Agricultural Orchestra and a rival outfit with a similar name have been competing for fans – often at the same venues.

The two “scrumpy and western”

bands look the same, sound the same and appeal to identical audiences.

One of the groups has even accused the other of poaching their gigs, including a top booking at the New Forest Show.

Now, the battle of the bands has ended in victory for the Plonkers Agricultural Orchestra.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has issued a ruling that effectively prevents ex-band member Gerry Rickman and his breakaway group from using the name New Forest Plonkers.

If he continues to do so, he will be banned from contesting any legal action launched by the other group.

‘Golly’ Brownen, who founded the Plonkers Agricultural Orchestra in 1980, said: “I’m on cloud nine that we’ve been given exclusive rights to our own name.

“It’s been a long struggle that’s cost me a fortune but you have to carry on if it’s something you believe in.”

Mr Brownen is planning to celebrate his legal victory by performing at the New Forest Show for the first time in ten years.

Mr Rickman said he formed the New Forest Plonkers in 2002 after he was told the other group was being disbanded. He added: “We never copied anything – we just carried on playing.

“We’re disappointed at the outcome but it’s not the end of the world.”

Mr Rickman was still deciding whether to change the band’s name or appeal against the ruling.