A ROCK man is on a party line he does not want after being rung three times with market research calls for the Conservative Party.

Brian Smith, a university lecturer

and education consultant, of Callow Hill, received two calls from the party in London on the same day last month. Despite saying both times he did not want any more such calls he was rung again last Thursday.

The calls were part of Wyre Forest Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate, Mark Garnier's, general election campaign - despite Rock being in the neighbouring Leominster parliamentary constituency, represented by Conservative, Bill Wiggin.

The first time, Mr Smith answered the call. He said: "I informed the caller that I was registered with the telephone preference service and asked not to have any more calls. He said he would make a note."

Mr Smith, who is in his 50s and works from home, went on: "He described it as a market research call, ringing on behalf of Mark Garnier 'your prospective parliamentary candidate', wondering if there were any issues I wanted to raise."

He added: "The second call was the same day, half an hour later - after requesting not to be called again. He said that time he wanted to speak to my wife, Christine."

Mr Smith thought that was the end of the matter until the third call.

He went on: "It's not a party political thing - it's an irritation."

Rock is represented on Wyre Forest District Council and is set, eventually, to be included in Wyre Forest for general election purposes, although not in time for the next one, expected this year.

Mr Garnier offered his apologies to Mr Smith, saying he would contact Conservative Central Office in London to try to get the problem sorted out.

"The incredible difficulty with Rock is on the computer system we have," said Mr Garnier, "When we're fighting district council elections here, we include Rock. When we're fighting parliamentary campaigns, what happens is that Rock isn't taken off.

"This is causing a certain amount of confusion. I have told Central Office several times."

He said the system was "85 per cent accurate" but acknowledged: "If people get called three times it's causing a real problem."