The panel of judges who are in charge of the contest to find the winner of Southend Christmas Lights Wanker 2016 have admitted that this year’s battle could be the toughest in the history of the town. 

According to Head Judge Nathaniel Grid, the panel has been forced to introduce an additional rule for 2016, with all entries needing to be visible from the International Space Station just to qualify for the final round. 

He added: ‘This year it is going to be incredibly difficult to find the biggest Christmas Lights Wanker in Southend On Sea as the standard of entries is truly incredible.’

‘Once our colleagues in NASA and the ESA have confirmed that an individual entry is visible from all pods of the International Space Station, we will then check to see if the individual household has spent more than the required 75% of their gross annual income on both the lights and the projected electricity bill for the entirety of November.’

‘After this, potential wankers will only qualify for the final stage if at least three passing motorists wrap their vehicles around a neighbouring tree during the first week of December.’

‘In the final round, entrants are joined by the automatic qualifiers from November’s Southend Fireworks Prick Champions League.’ 

‘Studies have shown that people who spend a grand on nuclear warheads from some shed next to the A127 are 60% more likely to melt their house with Christmas lights.’

The 2016 contest has some fabulous prizes on offer, and the overall winner will take the grand award of a 24/7 lawn mowing permit from Southend Borough Council. 

Tournament sponsor Essex Dogs Ltd will also be providing a family of mentally-unhinged Pitbull Terriers and a Doberman Pincher on a rope.