People come to Santa's aid after he is involved in a collision with a Fiat Punto at the Victoria Gateway junction.

The Christmas plans of millions of people are in chaos this evening after Santa Claus was partially responsible for an accident at the Victoria Gateway interchange in Central Southend. The incident has led to repeated calls for clearer lane markings and signs across the junction.

At 4.52pm this evening, police received reports that Santa’s sleigh had collided with a Fiat Punto with Lithuanian number plates, and eyewitness accounts state that the collision occurred after a series of unfortunate events. Ted Fringe, who was busy picking up a last-minute pigeon for his wife Bertha, said, ‘Both vehicles were approaching from Victoria Avenue, and both stopped at the traffic lights that were on red. Santa and his sleigh and reindeer were in the left hand lane, while the Fiat Punto was in the right hand lane, and when the lights turned green Santa tried to turn right and the Punto went left.’

Mr Fringe added, ‘This junction really needs some lane markings so that people aren’t tempted to try and go in the wrong direction – or does the local authority actually have some deep-rooted desire to watch vehicles smash into each other for their general amusement.’

Although it is now likely that billions of people around the world will not get their presents until Easter, a local government spokesperson is adamant that the Victoria Gateway junction is already at its most optimal layout. They said, ‘We feel that adding lane markings and signs would only lead to motorists being clearly informed about what they are allowed to do here, and if we make this section of the junction clearer we will then need to add signs all over the place. The Shared Space area outside of Victoria Station would need a sign saying ‘Look out for buses ….. and pedestrians ….. and anything else with wheels or feet,’ and we have already blown our signage budget for the year.’