Town gets into the Christmas spirit - in August

Town hall bosses were accused of going Christmas crackers today after putting up festive lights - four months early.

Rochdale Council workers used a cherry picker and were bathed in summer sun as they began putting up the decorations on lampposts throughout the borough - more than 100 days before Christmas.

They include light decorations of traditional Christmas symbols, including a giant Noel sign and Santa Claus, plus a penguin on skis.

But the council say the lights have gone up early to celebrate festivals for other faiths including the Hindu festival of Diwali in October and the Muslim festival of Eid, starting on 20 September.

A spokesman for the council said: "We're getting into the festive spirit early this year!

"Festive lights will be installed across the borough by 19 October and the work is under way now.

"These lights will be used to celebrate a number of festivals, commencing with Eid next month."