WO seaside towns have had to scrap this year’s Christmas lights because of new safety rules.

Council chiefs told traders only qualified electricians were allowed to put up the festive decorations.

That would have cost £2,000 in Harwich, Essex. Neighbouring Dovercourt faced a £10,000 bill.

Traders can’t afford to pay. Pub boss Jamie Shrive, who put up Harwich’s lights for ten years, said: “I’m disappointed.”

Essex County Council said: “These are national guidelines under the code of practice for installation, operation and removal of seasonal decorations.”