SANTA'S Christmas Eve tour of Newton Aycliffe needs a little help this year.

Santa has visited every street in the town, handing out sweets to children, for more than 30 years, using seven vans lent by Noble Self Drive of Darlington.

This year the company is only able to provide four vans. Great Aycliffe Town Council has a new vehicle which can be used, but that means Santa still needs two vans to complete his rounds.

Marie Robinson of Great Aycliffe Town Council said: "We use a cassette system in the van and fix up speakers to play Christmas music. This is a very popular event and it's lovely seeing the kids' faces."

The tour has grown with the town over the years and there are now seven routes. If there are not enough vans each route has to be lengthened, so streets will not see Santa until after many children have gone to bed.

The council is looking for clean vans in good condition, which can be borrowed between Friday, December 21, and Thursday, December 27, and dressed up as sleighs.

All vehicles would be covered by additional fully comprehensive insurance taken out by the council. The council also needs two navigators.

Anyone who can help is asked to contact Marie Robinson at the council offices in School Aycliffe Lane, or by telephone on (01325) 300700.