Homeowner gutted after he is told to turn off Christmas lights or face £10,000 fine

A man who was threatened with a £10,000 fine over his charity Christmas lights has been left “gutted” after being told to turn them off.

Charity Christmas lights switched off in Cheslyn Hay.
Charity Christmas lights switched off in Cheslyn Hay.

Trevor Payne had spent around five weekends attaching all the lights to his home Kestrel Way, Cheslyn Hay, to help raise money for the Young Minds Trust.

Now he has been left in “limbo” after being told to turn them off – or potentially risk a £10,000 fine from Staffordshire Police over coronavirus-related concerns.

Police chiefs are working with South Staffordshire Council and Mr Payne to ensure the site is Covid-compliant – so people can enjoy the lights safely.

Mr Payne said: “When the police came round they said if I didn’t comply I could face a £10,000 fine.

“We agreed an action plan – so a one-way system, hand sanitiser, posts on social media about the guidelines, and I’ve even blocked my drive off so people can’t drive up.

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"I put all of that in place, turned the lights on and they turned up the following night and said ‘turn them off’ which I did.

“I’m just gutted and disappointed by it. I love seeing the kids on the drive, their faces just lit up with joy.

“But because of the pandemic, people have got nothing to do so they’ve seen the Facebook page and it’s gone crazy really – people have been travelling from far away to see it.”

The 46-year-old is now waiting for a call from Staffordshire Police to tell him whether he can switch the lights on – with him now being stuck in “limbo” with the lights off.

He said he accepted it “does get a bit much” in the street and urged people – if the lights do get switched back on – to park responsibly and be courteous to the neighbours.

Tilly Tomlinson, aged five, with her father Mark Tomlinson near the Christmas lights.

Neighbour Mark Tomlinson said the lights had been cheering residents up and said the lights being turned off broke the heart of his five-year-old daughter Tilly.

He said: “I just think it’s a bit of an overreaction, yes it’s a bit busy but it’s only for a couple of weeks and it’s bringing a smile to our faces.”

Chief Inspector David Wain, of South Staffordshire Neighbourhood Policing team, said: “Officers attended after residents expressed concern for the safety of those present at the gathering, which appeared to breach the current Covid restrictions.

“No enforcement action was taken after the house-owner agreed to turn off the lights for the evening.

"We are working in partnership with South Staffordshire Council and the homeowner to make the site Covid-compliant so that people can enjoy the lights and make secure charitable donations in a way that keeps everyone safe and prevents the spread of the virus.”

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