19th December 2008 at 00:00

There's nothing like a good Scrooge story for Christmas, and this year it is the turn of Hampshire County Council to keep the tabloids sated.

A lot of people got into a lather this week over a bit of tinsel a lollipop man had wrapped around his sign when a passer-by said it might endanger children by obscuring the reflective sign.

The council agreed and ordered Kevin Simpson (below) to remove it, which left parents of pupils at Berrywood Primary School threatening to mount a protest outside the school gates calling for the reinstatement of the, er, tinsel.

Mum Maria Ritzema came up with the required line when she thundered: "Kevin's bosses must be Scrooges."

The emotion of the ban caught up with Kevin himself, who admitted: "When I was told the tinsel had to go, I was in tears - and so were the children."

Clearly, there were a lot of distressed people in Hedge End, near Southampton, that day.

But it's unlikely Kevin will be able to redecorate his lollipop. The council insists there are strict guidelines governing dress codes for crossing staff.

Still, he can take cheer from the comforting words offered by council leader Ken Thorber: "It's nice to see this lollipop man is trying to spread a little bit of Christmas cheer."

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