British band The Darkness have laughed off rumours their new bassist RITCHIE EDWARDS is actually the Manic Street Preachers guitarist of a similar name who went missing eleven years ago (95).

The band hired Edwards last year (05) after sacking Frankie Poullain, who performed on the band's first album.

But frontman Justin Hawkins insists any resemblance between him and RICHEY EDWARDS, who is presumed dead after his car was found near a notorious suicide spot in 1995, is purely coincidental.

Hawkins says, "People on chatrooms started saying that if you look at old pictures you can see the resemblance.

"Ridiculous. He must have changed his height, his accent, his age and every feature on his body to be in this band.

"But it would be funny if the Manics guy decided he wasn't dead and wanted to become a member of Britain's biggest c**k-rock band. But somehow I don't think it's going to happen."