IT WAS the girls who proved they were top of the cops in the grand final of the countywide Community Idol competition.

On Saturday, hundreds of people packed into the Selby Abbey to see 20 young finalists from Selby and other parts of North Yorkshire battle it out in hope of being crowned singing champion.

Scooping the top prize, presented by veteran celebrity DJ Jimmy Savile, was Elisha Ainsley, a student at King James school, Knaresborough, who wowed judges with her rendition of Popular, from the hit musical Wicked.

Elisha will now spend a day in In-Tune Recording Studios, in Cliffe, to begin her road to musical success.

In second place was guitar soloist Jack Lawrenson, a student at Brayton College, Selby, who played his own instrumental blues piece, and bronze place went to Ashley Sayers, a pupil at Richmond School, with her rendition of Mariah Carey’s Hero.

Opening the show was last year’s winner, 17-year-old Emily Palmer, also singing Mariah Carey’s Hero. She sat on the tough judging panel alongside chief constable Grahame Maxwell, Stray FM DJ Chris Bell and BBC Radio York presenter Jeremy Buxton.

Elisha won a trophy and a laptop computer donated by sponsors PC World as well as her recording session.

Jack won an iPod nano, Argos vouchers worth £50, two 15-lap racing sessions at F1 racing at Monks Cross and a £30 paint balling voucher.

Ashley collected £50 Argos vouchers, £30 voucher for Harrogate outdoor centre, £20 Tesco voucher and a £10 Woolworth voucher. All 20 finalists received a certificate signed by Jimmy Savile.

The X-Factor-style contest, dubbed Cop Idol, was set up by the police to combat antisocial behaviour by giving young people something to work towards during the long summer holidays. Dave White, Safer Neighbourhood Police Officer (PCSO) for Brayton, Thorpe, Willoughby, Hambleton and Burn, was instrumental in setting up the show with colleagues Alison Marshall and Colin Baker.

Mr White said: “Some sceptics may be asking what has this show has got to do with policing.

“Well, the Selby safer neighbourhoods policing team prides itself with its fight against crime and keeping the community safe, like all the other safer neighbourhood teams across the county. However, another string to our bow is our excellent community engagement such as getting into the schools and breaking down barriers with the young people like this contest.”

Of the performances on Saturday night, PCSO White said: “It was a great evening with a huge amount of talent.”

All proceeds from ticket sales will go straight to the Selby Abbey restoration fund and to NSPCC.