A ROSSENDALE town’s Christmas lights display has been defended by councillors after some of the illuminations failed to work.

Crowds that gathered in Bacup town centre on Friday for the annual Christmas event were left with a highlight to forget as some letters in the Christmas message failed completely.

Councillors said the budget for lights had not increased from last year although they were hopeful it would improve next year.

They also defended the decision not to install a Christmas tree in the town saying that it had been vandalised in previous years.

The council blamed the lights failure on ‘general wear and tear’ and said that workmen are due to fix the problem tonight.

Greensclough ward councillor William Challinor, said: “The budget for the lights was the same as last year but it all has to be divided between the townships that have lights.

“Everything has to be done in line with electrical health and safety regulations, so it costs quite a lot.”

The lights that were in working order were switched on by Rossendale Mayor, Coun Christine Gill, alongside children from local primary schools.

Coun Christine Lamb said: “It’s a real shame the council are not putting a tree up this year.

“We all understand the problem of vandalism but to let the vandals win doesn’t make any sense.

“I really hope the council fix the lights soon and change their mind about putting a tree up for Bacup, it is Christmas after all.”

Coun Challinor hopes more money will be made available for light bulbs that work in the future.

He said: “Next year, maybe the budget will be bigger and we’ll be able to provide better lights, but the vandalism has been a real problem for a long time.”

A spokesperson for the council added: “We are working to restore the Christmas lighting display in Bacup as soon as possible and are hoping to put a replacement panel up on Monday evening.

"The most likely cause of the problem is through general wear and tear.”