Peter Maxwell Davies, Master of the Queen's Music, has suggested that owners of mobile phones which ring during concerts should pay a fine.

Speaking to the BBC, he described the problem as becoming so common that it was a plague.

I would just love to see something where people would be fined ... and that the money went to the Musicians' Benevolent Fund, he told the BBC.

Davies said he was really upset when two concerts he attended recently were interrupted by phones ringing.

It is not the first time leading figures in the British arts have tackled the issue.

Actor Richard Griffiths ordered a woman out of his West End play in 2005 when her mobile phone rang for the third time during a performance of Heroes.

One reader of the Daily Telegraph, responding in a letter to Davies' recent remarks, had a more radical solution to the problem.

Stationing clearly marked snipers around the upper reaches of the concert hall and placing a warning on the back of the podium might work: drastic, yes - but nothing else gets through to these selfish few, wrote Arthur Ord-Hume.

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)