A senior lecturer in linguistics has weighed in on the 'Croydon accent' debate - but says the answer is not simple.

Dr Laurence White, from Newcastle University's Speech and Language Services department, says that people who live in the same areas of the country are able to pick up on very subtle differences in accent.

He added that perceptions of accent has a lot to do with the person who is listening.

He said: "It's interesting in this story - we have people saying there's definitely a Croydon accent and other people saying there's definitely not.

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"Firstly everyone has an accent. Whether you notice someone else's accent depends on the degree to which it differs from the place where you are hearing it.

"If you listen to someone who lives nearby to where you do, you will hear more subtle differences.

"A lot of it is in the ear of the hearer.

"If someone sounds broadly like you do but they do something that you don't do in their speech, you will pick up on that."

Asked what side of the debate he would put himself on, Dr White said: "You can't say yes or no.

"It depends on age, it depends on the age of the speaker, social class and it also depends on who's listening. The answer is complicated."