Senior officials have warned Father Christmas that there will be ‘serious consequences’ if he flies his sleigh into Southend Pier this Christmas. This sort of warning hasn’t been necessary in the past, but the recent news is that Santa’s route to London in 2015 will involve riding the length of the Thames Estuary, complete with stops in all the towns along the way.

A spokesperson contacted the Southend News Network to explain why the warning had been issued. He said, ‘We feel that Santa needs to be reminded of his responsibility to carry out his duties without damaging any public infrastructure. Although Southend Pier is a mile and a third long, many ships in the past have failed to notice it sticking out into the Thames Estuary and sailed straight into it. We all know that he enjoys a considerable amount of alcohol as he travels around the world, and therefore we have concluded that there is a ‘serious and significant risk’ of his sleigh striking the pier and causing what could be billions of pounds worth of damage.’

He added, ‘As a precaution, we have installed CCTV cameras on the wind turbines that currently sit further out into the North Sea. When we see Father Christmas approaching the estuary with his reindeer, we will analyse his driving patterns to check for any signs of erratic behaviour, and we also reserve the right to breathalyse him to ensure that our famous pier remains intact.’

Representatives from the North Pole have issued a response to the statement, and they make it perfectly clear that they will not tolerate any sort of action that amounts to intimidation and harassment. This document reads, ‘In the event that Southend Council monitor our dear leader in this manner, we will not be making any deliveries to the borough of Southend On Sea this Christmas. All gifts will be left at the Short Street Royal Mail office, and all children will need to bring their S78 / ‘Sorry Your Council Values Your Pier More Than Your Childrens’ Delight’ cards to receive their presents (along with five forms of identification).’