The chair of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has written to the president of Cheam Rotary following his decision to ban Santa from standing on top of a moving float.

After a report in the Sutton Guardian last week, Judith Hackitt the chair of HSE wrote to Stephen Cunningham asking clarification on the ban which was enacted due to health and safety concerns

She said: "Clearly nobody wants Santa injured at this, his most important time of year. But regular parades take place all year around all over Britain and floats are a major part of that tradition.

"Others have been successful in finding ways of safely letting performers ride on vehicles so I am curious to know why you considered this was not possible.

"There may be genuine reasons why the Rotary Club has taken this decision, but there is nothing in health and safety law which stands in your way."

Mr Cunningham defended his decision, saying a vehicle used in previous years by the rotary club had minimal risks because Father Christmas was supported by a sun roof.

He said however, with the new vehicle this year, a high-sided transit van, Father Christmas would have to be fixed to the roof rack of the vehicle.

He said the artificial Santa has already been damaged by branches and the local Rotary District, 1140, told them they would be breaking the law.

The sleigh, which raises money for local charities, has been doing its rounds as usual this year and is hoping to break last year’s record total of £11,800.