By Helen Le Caplain and Jacob King
An Asda shelf stacker who looks the spitting image of Ed Sheeran says he gets mobbed by legions of fans when he goes out in public – much to his fuming girlfriend’s frustration.
Wesley Byrne is regularly stopped in the street when out and about with 28-year-old girlfriend Leah Howard-Smith and even at WORK by people convinced he’s the ginger crooner and beg for selfies and autographs.
The 25-year-old Ed doppelganger can’t even party in peace and once had to show his passport to a boozed-up reveller who, convinced he was the Grammy-nominated star, demanded he start singing.
Wesley from Shaw, Greater Manchester, said: “I’ve developed a bit of a sense of when it’s going to happen – it happens all the time when I’m out and about.
“Being stopped in the street and asked for pictures and autographs has started to happen more and more since he’s got bigger, especially if I’m out in Manchester.
“Most people just shout and I wave back at them.
“People ask for pictures with me whenever we go anywhere. A couple of times my girlfriend has glared at the women who shout and want pictures with me, she doesn’t handle it very well.
“A random guy on a night a few years back didn’t believe I wasn’t him. He spent a good 15 minutes convinced I was him and wasn’t having any of it when I said I wasn’t.
“He even wanted me to start singing. I said to him ‘I don’t know who you think I am but I can’t do that’.
“My mates just stood there laughing.
“I Googled him when I got home and it freaked me out a little bit when I saw how similar we looked.”
Wesley, who is learning to play the guitar, tries to go incognito by donning a coat and black hat when he goes out but says it sometimes makes people even MORE convinced he’s the hit maker.
Wesley said: “When I go out, even to Asda in normal clothes, people stop me even more.
“I get a lot of teens shouting across the street ‘oi Sheeran, sing us a song’.
“I don’t want to disappoint people and ruin their day so I just go along with it. I haven’t signed any autographs – people do ask for it but I make an excuse and leave.
“Comic Con in Manchester last year was crazy. I normally spend a lot of money on a costume but that year I just wore regular clothes and I was mobbed by people thinking I was him.
“I kept tally – I was stopped by 52 people. It was just fun.”
Despite the uncanny similarity looks-wise, unfortunately Wesley hasn’t been blessed with ‘inspirational’ Ed’s vocal abilities.
Wesley said: “My singing voice is terrible but I’m teaching myself how to play the guitar. I’ve not made much progress but I’ve managed to pretty much learn Shape Of You.
“I’m going watching him in May at the Etihad Stadium. It would be great to meet him – I just think his story is amazing.
“He came up from nothing because of his raw talent and didn’t have to rely on gimmicks. He’s inspirational.”
Wesley said that he would love to be able to put his lookalike talents to good use and make a career of it.
Wesley said: “If I could make a career out of being an Ed Sheeran lookalike I definitely would.
“I’m just trying to keep my hair. There’s a history of men in our family going bald so I just need to cling onto my ginger locks.”