A TOWN is offering families the fun of the seaside - without getting sand in their shoes.

Middlesbrough is 12 miles from the nearest beach, but management at the Cleveland Centre, in the town centre, are determined that is not going to stop them turning the town into Middlesbrough-by-the-Sea.

Punch and Judy shows and old-fashioned beach entertainment are on offer at the shopping complex from Monday, as well as visits from a character called Seaside Sid, who will be armed with a loudhailer and cavalry horn.

"We have tried to incorporate as much as possible that you would find in a traditional seaside town, and I hope that families will come along next week to enjoy what promises to be a great event for everybody,'' said David Ward, manager of the centre.

Caricaturist Paul Slattery will invite shoppers to sit for him, and there will be a pin the tail on the donkey competition for children to win £50 for themselves and £250 for their school.

Dancers from Costa Rica and Romania will also perform at the centre, while appearing at the Billingham International Folklore Festival