Stockton Town Centre came under the spotlight recently as residents dubbed the town's Christmas tree as the “worst”. The offending object, which looks like a large white cone with snowflakes printed on it, was mocked by residents. In response to resident's complaints, Stockton Council said that because of the huge redevelopment programme going on in the town centre, there was no room for their normal Spruce tree, but have promised it will return next year.

However, the alternative Christmas tree was not good enough for one pub landlord, Craig Harker, who was so unapproving of the negative publicity surrounding the town's “tree” that he went and bought his own natural tree and put it up outside his pub near to the Christmas “cone” in Stockton.

However, the fir tree, which was decorated with baubles and lights, lasted less than 24 hours before the Council removed it on 'elf and safety grounds after it blew over. Mr Harker said, “A bar worker saw the council workers driving away with the tree and she called me. She was too late to do anything about it, as they were already leaving when she saw them.” Mr Harker was disappointed as he claimed nobody bothered to tell staff that the tree was being removed.

Leader of Stockton Council, Bob Cook, said, “The tree was blown over during the early hours, narrowly missing a passer-by. Thankfully nobody was injured but I think the CCTV footage speaks for itself really – this is not a case of the council overreacting, more a case of being sensible in light of the windy conditions.”

However, Mr Harker is determined, and has even offered to gift the tree to the Council so that they themselves can put it up, but he is yet to hear a response.