THE gipsy tradition of "horse flashing" at Yarm Fair has been saved following the decision to lift a ban imposed last year.

Gipsies have ridden their horses along High Street for centuries to show off the animals prior to the sales.

The Cleveland Police ban followed an incident in 2001 in which a horse ridden by a young boy ran out of control.

The outcome of several meetings over the past year between the police, Yarm Town Council and the travellers, represented by solicitor David Yorke, is that the tradition can continue, as long as safety rules are followed.

Philip Addison, Town Council chairman, said: "The horse flashing will go ahead this year and the travellers will police the event themselves.

"Around ten or less horses will be allowed to canter and trot in the high street but will not be allowed to ride at full whack."

A tradition where Romany Lawrence Wood trots his pony behind a steam tractor and trailer while the Ridings of the Fair are read has also been reinstated.

Mark Turnbull, a supporter of the gipsies, said: "We are delighted that the horses will be back this year.

"The public were sorely disappointed when it was cancelled last year.

"My father-in-law, Mr Yorke, has supported the travellers in talks with the police and we've all worked really hard for this.

"But the travellers will have to agree to the conditions or we'll end up losing the gipsy fair for good."

An area between the Post Office and the bridge will be cordoned off with red and white tape and metal barriers so that the flashing can take place for 20 minutes.

However, the Chamber of Trade for Yarm remains unhappy that the fair is being held in the high street at all.

Stephanie Richardson, the chairman of the Chamber of Trade, said: "There is nowhere for customers to park during the fair so many shops just close down for that week.

"We would prefer an alternative venue, perhaps on the riverbank."

Yarm Fair will take place this year from October 15 to October 18.